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Measuring web 2.0 & Social Media – time to update your KPIs!

Traditional Marketing Dashboard

Traditional marketing campaign dashboards look really pretty.  Taking a stack of data and graphically representing how a campaign is doing against key performance indicators (KPIs) is part art and part science. 

How are you measuring the success of your campaign in today’s web 2.0 environments? If you are showing your clients page views, clickthroughs and unique visitors you are only showing them part of the picture.It’s all about engagement. With your audience. Between your audience. It’s about the social graph. It’s about the social equity of your online brand and what you are doing to increase it.

Your investment in time and / or expense in Omniture or Google Analystics are safe…but you need to ensure that visitor frequency and advocacy are placed near the top of your dashboard as they are leading indicators on engagement.

Measuring frequency should go beyond how many return visitors you have. Take a longer term view (not just the day or week the campaign hit) and measure time between visits and length of visits – and whether or not each is getting shorter or longer. When you have a high percentage of users returning every day, you know you’ve got engagement. facebook for example gets over 50% return visitors every day and users spend on average 20 minutes on each visit! If you are not sure what is good or bad engagement…start by figuring out a consistent process for you to measure it. Once you have your baseline number you can start tracking net gain / decreases.

Measuring advocacy is a little less tangible. Although a frequent visitor is a leading indicator that you may have an advocate…. that visitor has to go from lurking on your site to contributing to your site…or telling others about your site. Advocates will link to your site by blogging and / or tweeting about you, your post, or your site. To figure out how many advocates you have, start by googling your website URL, brand name, product or service and see how many sites are linking to yours. You may be surprised at what you find! Also search social bookmarking / media sites to see if people are tagging your content on Del.ici.ous, Stumble Upon, Digg, Technorati, and through RSS subscriptions.

Traditional marketing campaigns often use the cost of customer acquisition as part of their return on investment (ROI) assessment.  To provide better insight in today’s web 2.0 digital environments, look at your cost of engagement and your return on engagement (ROE).

Which campaign would you rather invest in – the one that drives one time traffic to your site, or the one that creates customers, advocates and longer term awareness, affinity or loyalty to your brand?