Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
When a Social Media Impression Is Not an Impression
Posted on October 11th 2013
The social impressions metric – and the number in the multi-millions that typically precede it – is often the fail-safe analytic tool of the social media marketer. This seemingly arbitrary number, typically totaling in the multi-millions, can be quite impressive at first blush (and look good in a deck to the client). However, leaning on this metric crutch does a disservice to social because it clouds what truly differentiates social from other marketing –engagement and actual awareness that comes with it.
It seems every measurement tool has its own definition of a ‘Social Impression’, but that definition always takes the theoretical maximum number of views based on the number of followers each participant has. Unfortunately, the metric is disingenuous at best. The likelihood that every follower was online, saw, engaged, recorded, took note and let their eyes fall over that specific interaction is unlikely (if not impossible). Consider this – would Nielsen have any validity if they counted every single person with a television set and the means to watch a particular channel as a viewer of every single program on that channel.
That is why leading with the social impression metric can obfuscate the reality that a few users with inflated follower numbers who are simply talking out into an echo chamber can result in a massive ‘social impression’ number. The idea behind the impression on a platform like Twitter is sound – since most people use Twitter simply to consume, not produce. When we consider this fact, the impression appears viable since awareness will always be a big part of social. The problem is with the measurement itself, its inherent fallibility, and the expectations that come along with its acceptance. What we should focus on are the truly relevant are metrics that actually value engagement, reach, or awareness of those interactions – not hypotheticals.
To see if millions of social impressions claimed can cloud the real and actual number of participants, I took a closer look at a recent campaign Corvette did to help launch the Stingray that received 87 million social impressions. This massive number unto itself should go some way to indicating the danger of relying on the social impression metric – did of upwards of a third of all American adults actually became aware of the Stingray through social? Obviously not.
Looking at the data straight from the firehose, there were 72,772 Corvette Stingray tweets sent from December 2012 – May 2013. Of those, 56,526 tweets were sent by unique individuals. 56,000 people on Twitter talking about a new car is an impressive number and the campaign, without question, remains an extremely successful one. However, it is impossible to accurately calculate how many consumers came in contact with the content pushed by those 56,000 people, and therein lies the risk of considering a social impression as anything more than a very ethereal, absolute-best-case-scenario estimate.
Would media run a story trumpeting the fact that 56,000 real and actual people were tweeting about the new Corvette over a 5-month timespan? Probably not, and that’s the danger of the numbers arms race. However, I’d encourage brands to worry less about the media coverage and dig into metrics that, while may seemingly result in smaller numbers, account for true engagement and real interactions including response rates, shares and re-tweets. Don’t let actual noise and actual awareness become secondary to metrics in the multi-millions, media write-up and client kudos.