Geoff Livingston asked me to join his collective quest to gather information on measurement & ROI (return on investment) for social media campaigns. This is a topic that I recently wrote about. So it is very timely.

My project is outlined in the previous post. And at the time of that writing I was finishing the proposal. I’m very fortunate to be working with a company that understands the value of listening to the customer & is willing to embrace social media. ACDSee has been doing an incredible job of participating in the conversation & I’m excited to have joined them as their Community Manager! But irregardless of the support I knew that I had to include benchmarks & measure progress. My project relies on contributions from a number of internal entities, so measurable gains are imperative to encourage involvement & ongoing support.

We’re going to be working in the web strategy area of maximizing our website & all customer touchpoints, so there were a number of quantitative areas to measure. I also chose some qualitative areas to monitor. In six months we should have a statistical representation of our progress. We need them to monitor & evaluate our progress. They will also be used to point to what areas need more attention as we progress.

The one thing that I didn’t do was to set parameters. For example: Customer support tickets will decrease by x %. I think that type of quantifying would be quite difficult to predict. I’m not overly worried about not having them. If they were required I would need to make some educated guesses based on other’s experiences.

Here is what we plan to measure:

Quantitative:

  • Traffic patterns & statistics
  • Average number of customer service & tech support tickets per month
  • Cost savings for TS/CS & added value for R&D
  • Unique visitors
  • Product forum -
    • Member Satisfaction by polls
    • Ratio of Comments per blog post
    • New Member Registrations
    • Resolution time
    • Percent of posts that receive answers
  • SEO keywords for forums & blog
  • Product trial downloads vs unlocks

Qualitative:

  • Impact of the community on revenue
  • Community engagement
    • Engagement by ACDSee team – be present in the community
    • Marketing externally – reach out to the extended community, SEO optimization
    • Marketing internally – Have prominent calls to action to participate.
      • Encourage members to refer others to the community
      • Find/cultivate community members as moderators
      • Transition lurkers into active members & supporters
      • Ensure that the onsite experience is optimal
      • Reward active members
  • Encourage WOM – Participation in the community.
    • Mentions on other community sites
    • Tracking brands and community members through the community at large

There are many more ideas in the Online Community Metrics Survey 2007 which can be downloaded free from Online Community Research Network. They suggest:

Numbers tell a story, but numbers only tell part of the story. Metrics are important – page views, new threads & posts, etc all tell you hard growth facts. But part of community is organic — how the culture is developing, how many people are forming deeper relationships with each other — these are important things for community growth that can’t be measured.

Kami Huyse asked that we include some examples, so I will put out some things that I’ve been monitoring informally.

ACDSee blog – since it’s inception in June – metrics are from Google Analytics

  • 9,778 visits from 347 sources
  • 69 comments on 37 posts – 2:1 ratio is good!
  • 69.64% new visits
  • 2:15 min’s avg time on site
  • 2.19 pages/visit
  • majority of visits are from product forums – I’ve posted links there

Only in the past month have I increased the posting frequency & we’re gaining regular readers. I’m recruiting people from the ACDSee team & product enthusiasts to write, so I look forward to this medium having huge potential as place for dialogue with our customers!

In terms of the qualitative, ACDSee’s first beta was very successful in so many ways. I have two product polls gathering information in the product forums now. And we will continue to have betas for future products.

This is a meme, so I’m tagging all of you!

Thanks to Geoff for inviting me to contribute to this conversation. I look forward to the book he co-authored with Brian Solis, Now is Gone which is soon to be released!

*update* A comprehensive list of those that contributed to the measurement meme.