Mini SASCon - Where Next for Metrics

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

The first Mini SASCon Panel discussion of the day, Where Next for Metrics, considering the progression of search engine metrics, took centre stage (or at least slightly to the side of it). The speakers introduced themselves as Tim Langley (CEO of Canddi), David Gerrard (Senior SEO Consultant for PushON), Ryan McKay (Head of SEO for MediaCom I-Lab) and the position of Chair (or referee in this more informal setting) was filled by Richard Gregory, who had welcomed us earlier to the MiniSASCon event.

The talk opened with the consideration that the best way to measure metrics is to set the right objectives in the business strategy for the start of a campaign. Then once the results have been analysed the conversion rates can be fed back into the strategy. By integrating these visitor analytics into sales, support and marketing processes, these can create re-engagement and sales with the consumer, by remarketing from an ecommerce perspective.

Customer data can be collected from conversions and web data, and through a single cross campaign these visitor analytics can offer an integrated real time view of your digital visitors with the ability to take personalised actions. The ability to create triggers into real time from someone visiting the site now and altering the metrics accordingly, and not just changing things for future similar customers or if they might come back, means that it won’t be too late to turn the visitor into a customer and can help to direct their purchase decisions. Such as, for example, Amazon’s ‘you might also like’ selections, which can be offered and altered as soon as you view various different products. This is known as ‘trading’, by seeing the customer’s purchase or viewing behaviours (gaining personal data) and giving them buying suggestions accordingly. By collating this data demographic profiles can be drawn from the visitors, producing a ‘custom dimension’.

The main message was to define the objectives of a strategy, collect the incoming data throughout this campaign, and then use these to your advantage to realise these objectives, to create a continuous results-producing system.  This is particularly true with an SEO campaign, where the aim is to create content for links, reach, engagement and sentiment for the brand, and not just “content for content’s sake”. The analysis of the data from the project, showing viewing habits and influence, can determine a consumer’s perception of a brand.

Link building through content marketing can be measured by the number of links the content produces (through social engagement via shares and retweets, and other online interaction by online opinionators and writers, with the aim of having an offline impact too ie. being discussed in the ‘real world’ to generate PR value), the impact of rankings on a brand’s listing in the search engines, and traffic to the brand’s site. These will demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaigns and content. It is therefore imperative to “capture everything”, ie. capture and record all data, and rank it to divulge the CVR (conversion rate) from the data.

It was insightful to discover (when Rand Fishkin from Moz was mentioned in predicting that there would be an increase in the use of metric tools other than Google Analytics) that when surveyed every member in room all either used just Google Analytics, or used it and other similar tools together, however no-one just used another form of traditional analytical platform on its own away from the GA.

Finally, when the panel was asked what they would like to see more of this year, the most popular response was “Revenue!” Not only would this win the award for shortest answer (as suggested by Richard Gregory), but this is something we would all want to see more of too! And using metrics effectively is just the way to do so.

After a buffet lunch, and a good discussion with our Pitman Training friends, who had mostly been inside the Genius Room that morning for the PPC and Long Form talks, we once again resumed our seats in the Main Room for the first of the afternoon sessions.

Our next talk of the day, with some excellent considerations and reference for inspiration, was by Dominic Burch, Head of Social at ASDA, who discussed Why Content and Context are the Key to Making Meaningful Social Connections

Dom related how social media is one of the most direct ways of talking to the customer. Before, most brand’s main communications involved mainstream media advertising in print and newspapers, which was quite hit-and-miss in not always reaching their ideal target audience. Social media now allows brands to talk to and connect with the right people, not just everyone, allowing for the qualifying not quantifying of communications and conversations.

Indeed, ASDA knows that their customers who follow and like them are the ones who saw the relevant content in their newsfeed by, for, and about ASDA, and so their follow/like choice is a real and honest representation of their true thoughts and appreciation for the brand, and the customers are willing to interact with them.

Mini SASCon - Where Next for Metrics and Why Content and Context are the key to making meaningful social connections

Of course, this would not be possible without the customer’s conviction in the brand and its values, and “we will only succeed if we win their trust”. This is becomingly increasingly difficult, since the “old rules” no longer apply anymore, with media news using hearsay, tweets and rumours in their search for constant newscasts, so brands have got to compete with sensationalist news and be ready to defend themselves if a situation occurs, to ensure they do not lose their loyal customer following or damage their brand’s hard-earned reputation.

Also, through clever and ingenious social media use, a brand can easily turn a potential negative into a positive, such as with a fishy exchange between a customer disappointed by his lack of favourite battered fish on the Sainsbury’s freezer shelves, and the supermarket’s fin-tastic response.

Dom’s main advice, for everyday communications and ‘damage control’ would be to “listen first, engage second, influence third” (well, more persuade than influence or manipulate), and very importantly don’t ignore a customer, especially a complaint!

Since social media is like a big ‘focus group’, you can see what’s trending and being talked about (such as this Mini#SASCon event and Dom’s talk! Looking to Twitter and Facebook can be a good way to gauge sentiment and ‘test the water’ of reactions and public opinion, but also you can gauge how well a brand’s reputation is doing by what people are talking about (such as about a brand’s advertisements, pricing, products, service, etc). These customer discussions can incentivise engagement, for example with competitions or asking for opinions, such as ASDA’S tweet of a picture of one of their customers, who posted a photo with their favourite ASDA product and won a branded apron, which created a new thread of discussion.

Social media is the ideal way to “monitor- trial-engage-grow-influence” since it is unfiltered, unedited” and people want to connect with targeted, efficient content, as most customers don’t like being sold to, ie. given the ‘hard sell’. Today’s audience is savvy, they know when they’re being sold to.

Although, if you promote good, relevant and engaging content this will help to grow your fanbase, and keep them coming back to the store and conversing with you online, and endorsing the brand. Being able to influence followers, across all social media platforms, can reach even larger groups of customers through ‘the ripple effect’.

However, Dom warned that a like or a follow doesn’t always equate to a more loyal customer. It is imperative to reach out to recruit the people you really want to engage with the brand, not just for number’s sake. Dom referred to customers as generally “swing voters” (amid laughter from the audience), because they like to shop around for the best deal. The aim is to take your brand’s followers and keep them coming back into the stores or shopping through your ecommerce services.

The best way is to target segments of ideal customers through a clear editorial calendar, with;

  • Strategic marketing (seasonal events and festivities, iconic products or reduced products)
  • Responsive and tactical engagement (price cuts, #chosenbyme favourites). With this point, Dom mentioned how, when the Royal baby Prince George’s name was revealed, the ASDA George clothes range team nearly “died with excitement” at the possibilities this could open up for ways to market their range or develop new products.
  • Engaging interactions (help choose packaging, what’s your favourite, picture puzzles etc). Customers love to get involved.

In no particular order, Dom then outlined his list of trends for 2014, or ‘Dom’s dirty dozen’. However, as Dom said, “the title of this is somewhat misleading given…they’re not very dirty. There are a dozen though.”

  1. The resurgence of the advertorial (ie. advert promotion but in an article format) - This is a paid-for form of native advertising, but if done right it can really sell products well.
  2. Employee advocacy is now key - Using social media to collaborate with teams and individuals of the company internally, such as replacing email with another tool, eg. Twitter, for discussions and sharing great content, to create a more ‘personable’ and relatable brand and to help all members of the company understand social media.
  3. Engaging content will still be rewarded - It’s not just about pushing ads on Facebook and other social media platforms, it’s about how and where you do it to create the most views and engagement.
  4. The age of advocacy is upon us - If they like you, people will promote you, and share content, photos or just recommend a brand to their friends.
  5. Pay to play (Facebook etc now charging brands for ‘organic’ reach) - Brands are not always going to get earned, organic reach on social media. Algorithms are tightening, and measuring everything, and soon all platforms will be charging brands for their services.
  6. Millennials (ie. people born in Millenium) will fuel even more video sharing - TV is dying out, and consumers are happy to watch and share videos from Youtube and other online TV and film viewing services, or their own, through social media to their friends.
  7. The death of the social media manager (as Dom referred to this, “slightly worrying that one”) - Everyone in the company should be and getting involved with social media. It is how you engage and advertise with your customers. There needs to be a deep understanding across the whole organisation and employees need to know how to engage with and respond to consumers through the ‘brand voice’, to make the content fresh and relevant and solve a wide range of any potential problems.
  8. Social organisations will be the real winners - with more and more attention and focus being directed online, brands unable to connect with this digi-savvy audience will lose out on retaining and attracting current and new customers.
  9. Customers expect instant responses on social channels - Especially when something goes wrong and the company has failed to deliver. The sooner the wrong has been corrected, the sooner this damage control can turn the negative into a positive.
  10. Growth of gamification on social - Ways to engage the audience and ‘play’ and have fun with them and the brand and create shares and more follows/likes, eg. Competitions, games (such as their latest Christmas Snowman advert ‘spot the difference’ game).
  11. Key influencers / content creators can now monetise their position - Such as bloggers or ‘vloggers’ (video bloggers), who will only work with brands who ‘get’ them. You can’t just tell them what to say, you have to take a leap of faith and trust they will say the right things, which they invariably do. Think of them more as journalists and professionals rather than ‘spare time writers’ and they will create excellent content for you.
  12. Stronger interplay between social and TV - eg. The sharing and discussion of adverts online, such as for ‘Black Friday’ (the US equivalent of the Boxing Day sales) placed relevant TV programme advert breaks. This creates discussions for a brand to engage with the audience.

Social media, especially Twitter, is becoming more sophisticated, and can be utilised for geographic and demographic targeting, and so is creating more rules for engagement.

Download Dom Burch’s presentation from SASCon: http://www.sascon.co.uk/dom-burchs-keynote-presentation-content-context-key-making-meaningful-social-connections/

Follow Dom Burch @domburch

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