Friday, February 24, 2012

#ALGORITHMS: "Social Analytics to Measure Engagement"

Measuring the engagement of a fan base with sophisticated analytics enables enterprises to gauge their brand's success against their competitors--identifying what they are doing right and what their competitors are doing better.

Social analytics in Europe measures the engagement of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers and LinkedIn professional networks, allowing enterprises to gauge whether their message is getting out to savvy connected citizens. In the U.S., social analytics typically just counts heads, but in Europe each person fits into a like-minded group and every enterprise fits a profile.

"We do social analytics slightly differently than the American companies are doing," said CEO of Socialbakers, Jan Rezab. "Americans concentrate on social listening--using keywords to track discussions--but at Socialbakers we believe that listening is only one component of social analytics."

Instead, Socialbakers constructs an online profile of each enterprise, then compares it with all their competitors with regard to how "engaging" their social media posts are. In so doing, Socialbakers claims it reveals why some brands are more entrenched and influential than others.

Socialbakers analytics measures the engagement rate of the top ten Facebook page categories. With this measure, sports ranked first while finance ranked last.

"We believe that ultimately engagement with brands is more important than popularity," said Rezab. "Brands are becoming more social, and are communicating much better with their fans. Before they only had video ads on TV or banner ads on the Internet, but now they have the social space to get a lot more feedback."

To demonstrate its reach, Socialbakers recently did a study of the upcoming presidential election in the U.S., in advance of its recently opened U.S. headquarters in San Francisco (its world-headquarters is in Prague). For the U.S., it wanted to answer the question "can social media predict U.S. elections." Ultimately, it decided "maybe not yet, but we did show that social media is a great indicator of which candidate's posts are the most engaging," said Rezab.

The full study measured several metrics regarding how each candidate's fan-base was growing--or shrinking--but more importantly which particular social media posts of each candidate were the most engaging. In particular, one Obama post which included a new "family photo" was judged the most engaging post of the campaign by Socialbakers. And three weeks later the "Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama campaign chose the family photo that we identified as their key creative for the next campaign period," said Rezab.

Socialbakers currently has over 350,000 marketers regularly visiting its website to mine data from its studies, with 750 brands worldwide currently subscribing to its social-media tracking services. Cost is about $400 per month--depending on how many Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube social media pages an enterprise has. The service produces a package of standard analytics, including a measure of "total fans" and "social media market share." For brands that need help polishing their image, Socialbakers also offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) for what it called "engagement enhancement" of a brand's social media presentation.