Imagine logging into your email every Monday morning to find a report clearly outlining the value derived from all the time, effort and resource you’ve expended on the social web. That would be nice wouldn’t it? Seeing what impact of all that faffing about in Facebook; Twitter twaddling and blog blabbing has done for your brand would be invaluable. 

But what would you want to see (at a high level) in such a, currently fictitious, report? And who is best placed to provide it to you?

Such a report would certainly save a lot of time. The process of collecting and correlating data from several sources; then trying to make sense of it all so that it can be used to plan an effective brand engagement strategy is time consuming to say the least. For what it is worth, this is what I’d like to see.

Imagine logging into your email every Monday morning to find a report clearly outlining the value derived from all the time, effort and resource you’ve expended on the social web. That would be nice wouldn’t it? Seeing what impact of all that faffing about in Facebook; Twitter twaddling and blog blabbing has done for your brand would be invaluable. But what would you want to see (at a high level) in such a, currently fictitious, report? And who is best placed to provide it to you?

Such a report would certainly save me a lot of time. The process of collecting and correlating data from several sources; then trying to make sense of it all so that it can be used to plan an effective brand engagement strategy is time consuming to say the least. For what it is worth, this is what I’d like to see.

The Online Consumer Engagement Value Report

Split into the four areas of Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Advocacy:

Awareness:

  • What percentage increase in new website visitors has been derived from the social web activity? (Referrals, Search, Direct, Email etc.)
  • Which tweets, posts, comments, were the most effective and most viral?
  • What was the increase in search results (number and volume) and improvement in search rankings based upon this activity?

Consideration:

  • What social web activity led to increased keyword activity within search resulting in a website visit?
  • What were those conversation topics and keywords?
  • Which social sites/content were the source of the related activity?
  • Has the social buzz (volume) and keyword trending increased around my barnd, product or service?

Conversion:

  • Which social web channels provided the highest levels of conversion on site? (not just referrals, but the increase in conversions from search, direct, email etc.)
  • Specifically, which social web activity (post, comment, tweet, competition etc) triggered conversions? (And also those that didn’t do anything.)
  • Is the increase in followers across the various channels proportional to the increase in conversions?

Advocacy:

  • Which social web activity led to the most inter-consumer activity?
  • What impact has the “share this” option had? 
  • Which items, that had the share this facility, were the most and least effective?
  • Who were the most influential and authoritative people that helped increase awareness and conversion?
  • What do people really think about our brand, product or service? (not just a sentiment number, but an authoritative list of people and comments)

Plus, all of the above trended over time to see performance improvement or degradation.

That’s probably not everything, but at a high level, and plumbed into a nice dashboard report that would be pretty good in my opinion. Would you agree? It is possible to do this today, but it requires human correlation and analysis, which is time consuming and expensive. So who is best placed to automate this?

Who could provide such a report?

Firstly, it can’t be any of the buzz monitoring tools (free or paid for such as Radian6 or Brandwatch…I wrote those two purposely because I know they will/should pick this post up). I say it can’t be them, because on their own, they have no ability to see what is happening on your website.

Web analytics providers are much better positioned as they measure all onsite behaviour, and could more easily develop (or acquire) technology/ a methodology that measures activity buzzing around outside of the website (i.e. the social web and search). I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see some M & A activity in 2010 with web analytics companies teaming up with the buzz monitoring providers. However, there would still need to be significant integration of data sets and development to create the ideal automated report.

There is, of course, another option.

Who, out there, could already and quite easily provide an overall view of social web activity? Provide data around buzz volume and the associated keywords? Report on how this enhances search visibility and rankings? Measure conversation topics and links, tracing how these influences others? Who already owns and has a share in several social web platforms? In fact, who has an influence on pretty much everything that happens online?

For me, Google has the answer to all this; they are, currently, best placed to capture all of this data, and it’s probably only a matter of time before we see some clever reporting being added to their analytics. Have you seen how many “beta” functions are already visible in Google Analytics? Should they be taking this line of thinking, it may even come for free!

Of course, I may be completely wide of the mark here….anyone from Google care to comment? That would be nice.