Nikhil Sethi, CEO and co-founder, Adaptly
Brands have traditionally relied on search and display channels to drive conversions and achieve top-of-the-funnel campaign goals.
As social media and the emergence of social networks continue to rapidly grow, the fundamental methods of measurement for performance in advertising also evolves.
And consumer behaviour is immensely different on social networks than it is on any other website on the internet. Therefore, the tried and true metrics of digital advertising cannot be accurately applied to measure social. The challenge then becomes educating others on the reasons new metrics are needed to effectively measure success on social media.
Traditional search and display advertising methods of measurement focus on contextual relevance and click behavior; this approach completely neglects any consumer action taken after the first order impact of an ad unit.
Conversely, social advertising, in its nature, is all about the consumer’s ongoing engagement. Any action taken by a user on social, such as tweeting an opinion, liking something, stumbling upon a cool photo, sharing stories, etc, can be translated into a paid media opportunity. Social opened the door for these native ad units and as these ‘native monetisation opportunities’ become more prevalent, we see a new era of advertising emerge.
These new breeds of ad units seamlessly integrate with the overall consumer experience, which in turn offers deeper levels of insight into the users’ consumption and feedback. Subsequently, close and accurate data analysis is becoming more important than simply pushing branded display content under users’ noses and tallying the number of clicks. Now, every user has an equal voice and, through their online interactions, the power to instantly influence others perception of a brand. Social media has morphed ad units into moving targets and, as a result, the impact of these ad units should be measured by its organic traction across social networks.
Due to the way content moves within social channels, ad quality should be determined by the percentage of penetration – or the scope of organic touch points – within a channel. A high penetration result would reveal that a piece of content was compelling and reached its intended audience. Whereas a low penetration figure indicates the content was of poor quality and the targeting approach was insufficient.
Online advertising cannot focus solely on demand harvesting or on a direct response to a keyword searched. Metrics adopted by traditional media such as radio, print and television don’t translate gracefully into the digital space and currently there are no well-respected models for a workable demand generation approach in the digital landscape, yet that is precisely what is needed.
As an industry we need to focus on ways to generate demand, utilising increased spend on the earned and owned content side of social advertising as part of this new model, directing people towards fresh new content and ideas and engaging them further with the use of paid media.
We all know that great content drives engagement, but measuring its effectiveness brings with it new challenges. In social, the new challenge is not to measure effectiveness by the number of clicks and purchase conversions, but via more engaging and reactive paid-for media connections that promote awareness, recall and association. In our increasingly socially interactive world, we must evolve to support a more social web.