Note: Specific metric definitions from the “iab – Interactive Advertising Bureau“
Before going into specific metrics for social media sites, let’s define what a Social Media site is. Social Media sites provide a set of tools that lets users share information within a stablished framework. They enable either party to initiate conversations, a major difference with traditional established channels. Since consumer generated content is by far the largest part of the content being shared within a specific network, the size of that network will be directly related to the level of participation by individual users, hence, the value of a network for consumers is measured by the level of interaction by participants. For marketers, the value of that network is reflected by the number of endorsements by consumers, which may take the form of friending/following/subscribing, thus validating their content and input and activating a cross-channel viral distribution effect.
We must not forget that web publishers who aren’t social media sites also host and generate social activity. Through the use of open tools from social media platforms, such as Facebook Connect, Twitter or MySpaceID amongst many others, those publishers can now offer a social rich experience for its consumers/visitors/clients. These features would generally include but are not limited to the access of user and friend data in order to customize the user’s experience and generate a backflow traffic channel from the website to the Social Network, thus gaining a higher level of exposure and potential interaction.
Bearing the above in mind, metrics specific to this type of sites, as well as dedicated social media sites should include;
1.- Unique Visitors; Unique individual or browser which has accessed a site or application and has been served unique content and/or ads such as e-mail, newsletters, interstitials or pop-under ads. Unique visitors can be identified by user registration, cookies, or third-party measurement like ComScore or Nielsen. Reported unique visitors should filter out bots.
2.- Cost per unique visitor: Total cost of the placement or application, divided by the number of unique visitors.
3.- Page views: When the page is actually seen by the user. Some platforms, like Facebook cache preview images for applications, which can mean that page views are not counted until a user clicks through to an application canvas page.
4.- Visits (Specific to User Generated Content/Social Media): A single continuous set of activity attributable to a cookied browser or user (if registration-based or a panel participant) resulting in one or more pulled text and/or graphics downloads from a site.
5.- Return Visits: The average number of times a user returns to a site or application over a specific time period.
6.- Interaction rate: The proportion of users who interact with an ad or application. Some will be involuntary depending on where the ad or application is placed on screen, so it is highly dependent on placement.
7.- Time spent (section/microsite/community): The amount of elapsed time from the initiation of a visit to the last user activity associated with that visit. Time spent should represent the activity of a single cookied browser or user for a single access session to the web site application or other property. Most publishers consider a session continuous if and only if not broken by more than 30 minutes of inactivity.
8.- Video Installs: Number of Video players that have been placed by a user on to their page. Also called embed, grab or post. A video player is a type of widget.
9.- Relevant actions taken (custom to widget or application creative execution) and cost per relevant action. Some examples are: Contest/SweepsEntries, Coupons downloaded/redeemed, Games played, Videos viewed, Uploads(e.g.images,videos) Pollvotes, Messages sent (e.g.Bulletins,Updates,Emails,Alerts) Invites sent, Newsfeed items posted, Comments posted, Friends reached, Topics/Forums Created, Number of Group Members or Fans, Reposts (“Shares“)
In the upcoming post I’ll discuss metrics inherent to the second area of the “turf” – Blogs.