The M word: Measuring success in new media

by Anya Woods on 26 August 2008

Posted in: From the Field

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This is the first of many posts written by Anya, the new principal at Other Side Group.

We’ve been talking a lot about measurement in the new media space lately, and inspired by a great post on ROI on Mashable, I thought I’d take a minute to discuss one of the areas I think is often struggled with in planning a new media program to optimize the ability to measure success and demonstrate results during the course of the project.

Each company or organization should have unique and specific goals it hopes to reach with a new media program, before the program enters the implementation phase. This will not only allow for a targeted approach to the effort with specific tactics tied to the goals the company hopes to achieve, but will also facilitate the proper methods for measurement of success. As with any marketing or public relations program, new media plans will have aspects of ambiguity in measurement, but proper efforts should be made to ensure measurement methods are in place as much as possible, and that expectations are set properly for the kinds of feedback the program can expect.

Like any business initiative, you need to have goals in mind before you begin a new media program. This is not to say that you should have a sales goal or a number of new clients goal, because this may push you into using your new media strategy in a way that screams sales, and that is not what I am arguing. The kind of goals I am referring to are things that involve conversations, corporate reputation or customer relationships. Things like “We want to create a community where we can get technical feedback from users and help to resolve issues” or “We want to establish a channel of open communication between our CEO and our customers” or even “We want to give employees an outlet to comment on industry trends and engage with clients and customers.”

There are of course many other options, each of which have different outcomes and different methods of implementation, but most importantly, they all result in different methods of measurement. If your goal is to reach customers and encourage interaction with the brand, then the number of comments on the site, questions answered, speed of response and customer satisfaction levels become the benchmark for success. A blog for employees and employee interaction could be measured in number of posts, overall traffic and traffic sources, employee satisfaction and retention rates, rate of adoption, interaction between members etc.

The goals of the program determines the measurement possibilities for the program, and because each company and situation is unique, there will never be a cut and dried method for measuring the success of new media efforts. Each program will require its own method of measurement. The important thing I believe is important is that those goals and measurement benchmarks need to be in place before you begin working on your new media program in order to ensure success. For some ideas on what kind of benchmarks can be used, check out a comprehensive list here…

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  • http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com marguerite manteau-rao

    Nice summary, Anya! My observation, from spending over a year deeply immersed in new media, and watching various companies interactions, is that the human dimension of social media is often missed. Social means human interaction. Corporate types should do well to remember. Also, only folks who are themselves heavy users of social media, can capture all the nuances of communication in this new space. My advice to any client interested in adopting new media initiative: sign up for all the major Web 2.0 sites, and spend a month or two playing around, creating own profile and personal message. The learning will be invaluable later.

    LInk to last of many articles I wrote on topic:
    http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/3-

  • http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com marguerite manteau-rao

    Nice summary, Anya! My observation, from spending over a year deeply immersed in new media, and watching various companies interactions, is that the human dimension of social media is often missed. Social means human interaction. Corporate types should do well to remember. Also, only folks who are themselves heavy users of social media, can capture all the nuances of communication in this new space. My advice to any client interested in adopting new media initiative: sign up for all the major Web 2.0 sites, and spend a month or two playing around, creating own profile and personal message. The learning will be invaluable later.

    LInk to last of many articles I wrote on topic:
    http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/3-

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