Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Engagement Metrics for Social Networks

There was an article today on CNET about start-up BuddyMedia and its new BuddyBrain metrics product. You can see the concept but there’s no sample data yet. The company’s press release provides data from 10 of their clients’ most popular apps:

• The app-vertisements averaged 140,000 installs during the first month of a campaign • Users spent an average of 2 minutes, 35 seconds interacting with applications
• 85% of users who installed the application(s) returned for multiple interactions
• 56% of users returned 9 or more times during the first month

The press release asserts that this is engagement rates 75 times higher than those achieved by banner ads and 5 times higher than with TV. This gives you a sense of the types of metrics they are collecting. Most of their apps so far seem to be on Facebook, so the level of interaction is understandable. Here’s an article with links to several of them. These apps encourage interactivity, that’s certain.

Is there any support for this kind of comparison between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 media engagement? Not that I could find. But I did find an interesting post by Jeremiah Owyang on an informal metrics survey that he did. It’s a long list and you should read it for yourself. The top 3 items are:

• Meets a business objective
• Supports Community Goals

• Encourage[s] Member Interaction

A more recent post gives the winners of the Forrester social network marketing assessment. They looked at programs from 16 firms. Only one passed using their “ ‘Social’ criteria (rather than traditional marketing tactics) that meet[s] the needs of the community.”

The one “pass” was given to BMW’s graffiti wall app that I’ve written about before. My sense was that it not only had many engagement features, it was clearly centered on the product; this is a marketing program, after all. The BMW campaign scored a 9 (“pass” was 8); Sony BMG’s Alica Keyes progam on My Space scored a 7. Half the 16 firms studied scored 0 or lower!

Most of us have a long way to go in learning how to effectively communicate with our audiences on the social portals and in other social media contexts. Part of the answer is to measure how well we are doing, and BuddyBrain is one approach to doing that. But there’s no substitute for the attitude adjustment that virtually all marketers need to make in order to function successfully in the Web 2.0 world. We have to quit shouting and start listening. Only then will we begin to develop creative ways of engaging with our audiences.

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