Archive for May, 2012
At TweetReach, we’re often asked about how to measure share of voice (SOV). Measuring share of voice involves comparing one brand’s metrics to the total conversation about that brand’s category. Historically, this has been a difficult exercise because high quality data is hard to come by. But Twitter is an abundant and accessible source of real conversational data, allowing us to easily track mentions across a variety of brands. You can now determine the size of conversation for an entire category and compare your own brand to the overall conversation.
You can measure share of voice for any set of similar topics - competitive brands, products, companies or people. You can even compare share of voice across political candidates. Political candidates are the perfect example for a share of voice comparison. There are usually several people in the race, with a few frontrunners and a few hangers-on, just like most any product or business category. And people are talking about them on Twitter, providing a remarkable dataset for analysis.
Earlier this year, we tracked tweets about the U.S. Republican presidential candidates (see our interactive visualization and analysis). Now that Mitt Romney has emerged as the presumptive GOP nominee, we’re tracking the candidates for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket. VP candidates are not elected separately, but we can still use Twitter to gauge popular opinion and awareness on these candidates. Plus, they make a great example for a blog post about share of voice.
So, here are four steps to using Twitter data to measure share of voice.
1. Decide who you want to compare.
Before you start measuring, you’ll need to determine which competitors to compare to your own brand. What are the brands that make up the category you’re interested in measuring? Pick two to ten to compare. It’s probably easy to pick out your one or two most direct competitors, but also consider other less obvious choices you should add, as well as any large brands that make up your category. It’s possible that what your customers perceive as related might not even be on your radar, so think about this carefully.
In our Republican vice presidential candidate tracking, picking who to track was not that difficult. There are a set of people who have publicly made some indication that they’re interested in the job, and others that analysts and others who pay attention to these kinds of matters think could be chosen. So after a little research, we narrowed our field of possible candidates to 10 people:
- Kelly Ayotte
- Jeb Bush
- Chris Christie
- Bobby Jindal
- Bob McDonnell
- Tim Pawlenty
- Rob Portman
- Marco Rubio
- Paul Ryan
- John Thune
There are probably a few others we could include (or remove), but this is a solid, representative list for our needs. However you choose, pick 2-10 related brands to monitor in addition to your own.
2. Set up appropriate keywords for tracking.
Next, you need to track comparable terms for all brands. Most Twitter measurement tools (TweetReach included) will require a set of queries or keywords to begin tracking tweets. In this step, your goal is to make sure that your metrics aren’t later impacted by a data quality issue. If you monitor one brand’s Twitter account, then monitor all brands’ Twitter accounts. You probably know all the keywords you’d want to track for your brand, so think as carefully about the others as you did your own. Are you using common misspellings or nicknames? Are there other languages to consider? Multiple official Twitter handles or hashtags?
In this GOP VP case, we’re tracking full names (“Marco Rubio”) and Twitter handles (@marcorubio) for all candidates. We opted not to add last name-only keywords since candidates like Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan have fairly common last names and that would result in more noise than useful data. Since we can’t track their last names, we won’t track any other last names either. You can decide what makes sense given your goals, but just be consistent across all brands.
3. Collect enough data.
The next step is to start collecting data. Some tools do this in real time, and others have historical data you can mine. Either way, collect enough data that it’s representative of the full spectrum of conversation about your brands. Conversations can be spiky over short periods of time, so it’s best if you have weeks or preferably months to balance out those spikes across all brands. A longer data collection period also allows you to notice trends in SOV changes. The more data, the better. The longer you’ve been collecting data, the better.
GOP VP candidates see jumps in Twitter mentions when they’re featured in the news or after a public appearance. Some will just see more total tweets over time. We want to track long enough that we can differentiate between a legitimately higher metric and a one-time spike. In our specific case, we’ve only been tracking these candidates since early May (so just over two weeks) and the data is still pretty immature. Some of the candidates have been added even more recently than that, so their data is newer still. This means we shouldn’t take any of these metrics too seriously yet. But they will improve over time, so when we check in next month, we’ll have a much more representative picture of the true conversation.
4. Compare several metrics.
Finally, it’s important to compare brands across several different metrics to truly understand what’s going on. You may have a favorite stat or a particular KPI you’re targeting, but try to compare a few different metrics before deciding which to use moving forward. One brand might have a high reach, while another could have a lot of tweets. Use several metrics to compare, to see where the patterns are and what metrics make most sense in your industry or category.
Let’s look at a few metrics for the current top three Republican VP candidates (at least according to Twitter): Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan. This list will likely change as our data matures, but it’s fine for an early analysis.
One of our favorite metrics to start with is simple tweet volume. Tweet counts are useful in understanding the size of the conversation about a candidate. Below are graphs for both tweets per day and cumulative tweets so far this month for the three candidates.
You can see that Ryan (yellow) is slightly ahead of Christie (blue) in cumulative tweets right now, but both are increasing steadily. Christie has had two large spikes in daily tweet volume, while Ryan has had one. Both of these metrics will stabilize after a few more weeks, and we’ll have a clearer picture of who’s on top. Right now, I’d say Ryan has the slight edge on Christie, but it’s close.
And if we’re actually going to look at share of voice, let’s compare each candidate’s tweet volume to overall tweet total. In the past two weeks, there have been 46K total GOP VP candidate tweets. 35.2% of those mentioned Ryan, with Christie close behind at 32.9%. Track SOV over time, as changes in a brand’s share could indicate important perception shifts. For example, when we started tracking GOP presidential candidates in early January, Ron Paul dominated that conversation’s share of voice, and was mentioned in more than 40% of all tweets. But by April, that share had dropped off almost entirely, leaving the rest to Mitt Romney.
It’s also helpful to look at several metrics side-by-side. In this case, let’s compare reach, tweet volume and number of unique contributors.
Looking across these three metrics, Christie appears to be the frontrunner. His reach is currently more than 15 million, with 10 million for Rubio and 8 million for Ryan. Looking at reach and tweet volume in conjunction with contributors – the number of unique people talking about a candidate on Twitter – it seems like a lot of different people are talking about Christie and Ryan, while Rubio has a smaller group of vocal supporters. To achieve a 50% higher reach when compared to the other candidates, Christie was probably mentioned by a celebrity, typically the only people to have follower counts over a few million. (In this case, it turns out @jimmyfallon, who has 5.5 million followers, tweeted publicly to the governor.)
Reach is an excellent metric for share of voice, because it tells you about the size of the potential audience for a brand. The bigger the reach, the larger the variety of people who are spreading the message. A high reach indicates a diversity in contributors and audience, as well as some potentially influential and high-follower contributors.
We also recommend unique contributors as a share of voice metric. Which brand has more different people talking about it? One caveat about both reach and contributors is that since these are metrics based on counting uniques, you can’t compare one brand’s metric to an overall sum, since you can add up reach or contributor numbers to get overall reach or contributors. You can only compare reach to another brand’s reach. That’s still useful, but may not be a traditional share of voice metric.
Twitter and share of voice
Twitter is a incredibly rich source of share of voice data. If you’re tracking similar brands, products or people and one has an audience on Twitter, it’s likely they all will. Due to the real-time, public and archivable nature of Twitter, we can access this data for all kinds of useful analyses. People can and do talk about their favorite – and least favorite – brands on Twitter. For all these reasons, Twitter is perfect for SOV analysis, if you do it right. Doing share of voice right means selecting the appropriate brands to compare, ensuring consistency in search queries, aiming for long-lived data collection, and embracing diversity in data analysis.
This is a guest post by TweetReach Pro customer and all-around smart guy Evan Hamilton, Community Manager at UserVoice.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Lithium Network Conference. I heard a lot of great talks by leaders in community. But the most interesting speech was by Chris Blandy, SVP of Digital Media at FOX. He said something that stood out to me (paraphrased):
We’ve traditionally been a B2B company, but in the social media ere we’re having to become a B2C company. It’s a huge, important shift for us.
Here’s the thing: traditional broadcast media has always been a B2C business. Sure, you’re selling ads to businesses. That’s how you make money. But in order to do that, you have to make a successful B2C product: a network of television shows people want to watch.
It’s understandable that this has been unclear. When FOX launched they were only the FOURTH broadcast television network. Sure, they had to compete on programming, but only with three other networks. They could put a show on, and as long as it didn’t tank, they could focus on courting advertisers and making sure the content matched what they wanted, in content and format.
Today there are more than 20 broadcast television networks… not to mention lots of cable networks and web content. And their fans are audible, filling social networks, blogs, and fan sites with comments about the network. The entertainment industry can no longer assume they will have viewers. They need to focus on the real customers they always had: the viewers.
To FOX’s credit, they seem to be refocusing wholeheartedly. Chris used American Idol as the prime example of this. They’re building social spaces for fans to chat (one of the top posts on the forum is a criticism of a judge’s harsh words to an Idol contestant). They’re also building opportunities for their fans to continue to consume content, even between broadcasts, such as their live Twitter Q&A sessions with former Idol stars. And, in a big move for a company that would normally rely on Nielsen ratings, they’re measuring social media buzz while an event is on air (and off) and bringing that into their decision-making process.
But let’s be clear: it’s not about social making customers suddenly important. They’ve always been important. But as relative monopolies disappear and it becomes harder to hide from what they’re saying, broadcast media going to have to focus on their viewers with more intensity. This means not only listening, but acting on their feedback and keeping the relationship going beyond the 1-hour time slot. If you can master this, the advertisers will come.
Evan Hamilton is Community Manager at UserVoice, makers of modern, easy, web-based customer service help desk software. He writes frequently about focusing on your customers on the UserVoice blog. When he finds free time, he plays rollicking americana music at Kicking Tuesday.
If you’re using social media, you should be measuring it. But don’t measure just for the sake of having metrics. Instead, measure your social activities so that you can learn what’s successful, what isn’t, and how you can improve.
In this post we will help you get started with social media measurement for your organization by addressing these questions:
- How do you know if your social media activities are effective?
- How do you decide what metrics you should be monitoring?
- How do you calculate those metrics?
- How do you interpret the numbers once you have them?
The Two Types of Social Media Measurement
The two types of social media measurement are:
- Ongoing Analytics – Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time
- Campaign-Focused Metrics – Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end
Ongoing analytics are necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about your brand and company. Once your brand tracking is set up, you can just let it run and check in regularly to see how everything is going.
Campaign-focused metrics, on the other hand, help you understand the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and will vary from campaign to campaign, depending on your goals for each. An effective social media measurement program will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.
Let’s Start With An Example
Let’s say you work at a large consumer products company and are about to launch a new diaper brand. To accompany the big advertising and marketing push, you want to sponsor a one-hour Twitter party where parents and caregivers can discuss raising children, focused on issues around diapering and potty training.
You’ve picked out a unique hashtag, contracted with an influential Twitterer who will pose questions and lead the conversation. You’re ready to go. But now you need to make sure you’re measuring this conversation so you can learn – and later tell your boss – how effective the chat was.
Step 1: Determine Your Social Goals
Before you jump into measuring every single tweet, photo and Facebook comment posted about your brand, first think about your goals with social media. What are you trying to accomplish or gain through these social channels? And which channels are most relevant to those goals?
The first step in your measurement plan should be to generate a list of what you’re trying to achieve from your social media efforts. Social media can serve a variety of purposes, from broadcasting news and information, to answering customer questions and engaging with a community. What is your company trying to accomplish?
You’ve probably already started interacting on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, depending on the type of information and the format of the content you’re sharing. You’ve probably also considered the audience you want to reach and the tools they’re using. So the next step is to think about what you want your audience to do with your content on these channels. Are you trying to get them to read, share, reply, click, purchase, engage? List out all your business goals for social media.
For our Twitter chat example, our goals are probably two-fold:
- First, we want to spread awareness of the new product to potential customers
- Second, we want to get to know the parenting community on Twitter, particularly the influencers in that community
Step 2: Create Metrics To Measure These Goals
The next step is to match your goals to actual metrics and behaviors you can measure. For example, if you’re trying to measure engagement, then what is the practical form of engagement you want to track? Is it retweets or reposts? Replies or comments? Clicks? Here are a few suggestions of behaviors to measure, based on a few common social media goals…
- If you want to measure awareness, then use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?
- If you want to measure engagement, then look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
- If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?
- If your goal is to find advocates and fans, then track contributors and influence. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?
- If your goal is to increase your brand’s share of voice, then track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?
For our hypothetical Twitter chat, our first goal is awareness, so we want to measure:
- The tweet volume and reach of our Twitter chat
- How many unique people tweeted with our hashtag
We’re also interesting in getting to know this community, so we want to know more about the participants, including:
- Any influence metrics we can find (like follower counts and Klout scores)
- Relevant demographic information about them (gender, location, etc…)
Step 3: Measure
After you’ve listed the metrics you want to focus on, now you need to find tools that actually capture these metrics, and then start measuring. In some cases, social media channels themselves provide some form of analytics, in some cases you will need to use third party tools, and in some cases you can build your own using APIs.
If you’re not sure which tools to use for which channels, ask around or do a quick Google search and you’ll find tons of options. SocDir is a useful and comprehensive source with a list of more than 300 social media metrics tools.
Many social analytics tools work in real-time, so if you can plan ahead and set up tracking before your campaign begins (and well before your report is due), it will be much easier to access the data you need later.
On Twitter, for example, accessing tweets that are more than a few days old is very expensive, difficult, and far less reliable than collecting and archiving them in real time. When possible, set up your measurement tools before your campaign begins.
The measurement part of this may take some time, so let the tools do their work. Make sure they’re tracking the social posts you’re interested in, do what you can to filter out spam, and then come back in a few days for steps 4 and 5.
Step 4: Monitor And Report
The fourth step is to report your results. Use your initial findings to set a baseline or benchmark for future measurement, and share these early figures with your important stakeholders. Two important questions to nail down are:
- How do your numbers compare to what you expected?
- How do they compare to your competitors’ or related products and campaigns?
One of the great parts of social media analytics is that you can easily run reports about your competitors to see how they’re doing.
This is a also a good time to consider your schedule for regular reporting. Depending on your (and your organization’s) schedule, monthly or quarterly reporting may work best, but weekly reporting may work well for others. No matter the schedule, make sure you’re checking in regularly on your metrics. Don’t let your effort up to this point go to waste! And let your metrics accumulate over time; you’ll see how valuable this data will become after a few months have passed and you have older data to compare to your new data.
In your reports, be sure you highlight the important numbers:
- Include benchmarks or other contextual information so that your stakeholders can quickly understand what all the figures mean
- Consider including visualizations of your data; graphs can help communicate your results quickly and clearly to your audience
- Keep your graphs simple and clean
If you’re interested in reading more about data visualization, I highly recommend the work of Stephen Few; he has some excellent tips and examples.
Going back to our Twitter chat example, we’ll want to prepare a brief report to share internally. We don’t have baseline metrics yet to compare these to, but we probably started with a general idea of what we wanted to achieve with the chat.
As you recall, our goals were increasing awareness of the new product and getting to know community influencers for future interactions. Let’s say our chat generated 750 tweets from 200 unique contributors and a reach of 500,000. Several participants had Klout scores over 60 and tweeted multiple times.
So, even though this was our first chat, these are very respectable initial numbers. Half a million Twitter accounts were exposed to tweets with our hashtag, and we now have a list of 200 people who were talking about diapers, some of them very influential. We can build on this foundation in future initiatives, nurture relationships with these participants and continue to increase awareness of our new product.
Step 5: Adjust And Repeat
The final step is to carefully review your measurement program. How are these metrics doing? Are you missing anything? Was anything superfluous or unnecessary? Figure out what you can improve, make changes, and then measure some more. Check back in with the goals you set initially and make sure your new metrics actually help you address those goals.
In the case of our Twitter chat, we now realize that we also want to measure engagement around our chat hashtag. We’ve decided it’s important to know how many of our host’s tweets were retweeted and replied to, so we can understand what participants found most interesting. We can add this in and include it in our reporting next time.
If you’re participating in social media, you really need to understand how you’re doing. Is your content having the impact you want? Are you meeting your company’s goals with social media? This is why monitoring and measuring your social media activities is so crucial – you need reliable and consistent analytics that help you track your success on channels like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.