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Campaign Evaluation: How to measure true impact with social data

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is knowing how to assess the impact of their marketing campaigns. With a plethora of different possible approaches and analysis tools available, combined with the multichannel nature of today’s consumer landscape, measuring the impact of marketing efforts and identifying specific ways to improve the ROI of your marketing spend is rarely a straightforward task.

In this post, we will:

  • Explain why social listening provides a holistic and integrated solution for effective campaign evaluation.
  • Share best practice approaches to create the right measurement frameworks using social data.

Stop counting: Why KPIs matter

When it comes to campaign measurement, it’s easy to be swayed by the ‘bigger is better’ mindset ingrained in the business world. To avoid falling into the trap of counting by using indicators of size rather than performance, marketers need to remember that the key to an effective evaluation of any campaign is selecting metrics that reflect the campaign objectives and KPIs. 

As emphasised by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) in its guide to the measurement of social media campaigns, communication campaign measurement needs to be “linking activity to overall objectives” and have “a focus on the long term results”. For most brands, campaigns are about raising awareness, consideration and driving purchase, whether of goods or services. So, if using social data as a source, it’s potentially reductive to only take into account volumes of mentions to assess campaign impact since there is so much more depth of insight that social media can provide.

Key to an effective evaluation of any campaign is selecting metrics that reflect the campaign objectives and KPIs.

Setting the right benchmarks

Whether social data-driven or reliant on other sources, an evaluation framework, based on benchmarks as well as KPIs linked to your campaign objectives, is not simply a ‘nice to have’ but vital for effective measurement. By the same token as the traditional research agencies who spend years building benchmarking databases so that they can accurately measure their clients’ campaigns, you need to ensure that you have the right context to define what ‘good’ looks like to measure social data effectively. Looking at KPIs without any targets or external factors to benchmark them against means that you will only potentially be able to assess your campaign’s impact in the absolute, thereby risking defeating the entire purpose of the exercise. 

The evaluation framework

When building an evaluation framework, you will need to consider using both quantitative and qualitative KPIs. 

Quantitative performance indicators

You may want to look at overall brand mentions within social data. If compared to pre-campaign volumes, these can be an indicator of whether your marketing efforts have had an impact on brand awareness and consideration, as mentioned above. However, you may want to examine this metric in the context of your competitive set by using share-of-voice (SOV) instead. Volume and SOV are both short- and long-term indicators of awareness and consideration, but it is important to make sure that the social data used is on a like-for-like basis. After all, only by using a consistent set of sources can you get an accurate reflection of their evolution over time.

Impact on Perceptions

Qualitative indicators are also essential when it comes to campaign effectiveness measurement. Brand campaigns are often aimed at raising awareness and considerations of the brand, as well as improving consumer perceptions. Looking at whether the campaign is shifting these perceptions is something that social data is well placed to do. Why? Because these perceptions are expressed in an unprompted context, thereby providing a purer reflection than those derived from traditional research techniques. To track any potential shift you need to first create a pre-campaign benchmark of these perceptions. If you’ve been tracking your brand health metrics using social data, the good news is you will already have a benchmark in place. If you are thinking about establishing a brand health measurement using social data, take a look at our recent blog post.

Long-term impact

A big advantage of using social data is that you can look retrospectively at opinions without having to rely on recall. This makes it easier to access historical benchmarks than it would have been using traditional research techniques. Brand perceptions should also be measured over a significant period of time to demonstrate whether the campaign’s impact is lasting. You may also want to go a step further by looking at perceptions of the campaign itself and seeing how its elements are helping or detracting from your objectives.

A considerable advantage of using social data is that you can look retrospectively at opinions without having to rely on recall.

Examples of campaign measurement frameworks

Still wondering what specific measurement frameworks to use to measure your campaign?

Here are some ideas based on two specific use cases.

Use case 1: Campaign to shift perceptions

We would recommend you look at the following 3 indicators:

Volume/Share of Voice (SoV)

Social media conversation volumes can closely reflect brand awareness. Alternatively, you can look at your category or sector share of voice to get a relative measure and analyse shifts between the pre-, during- and post-campaign period.

Brand Perceptions

You can use your existing brand health measurement framework and look for evidence of your key image constructs being present. The potential shifts will be highlighted when perceptions are compared with the pre-period. 

Sentiment

It is also useful to look at sentiment (analysed by humans) against perceptions to assess where your brand is at and understand what is driving negative perceptions.

Use case 2: Campaign to raise awareness and consideration

Volume/Share of Voice (SoV)

Volume or share of voice will be a key indicator here but as mentioned above you will need to keep measuring it to understand the longer-term effect of the campaign and ensure that it did not just create a short term uplift.

Awareness versus Consideration

In this specific use case, using a qualitative framework that aims to understand the nature of brand mentions will also provide a vital component. While volumes give an idea of awareness, consideration can only be measured through the qualitative analysis of the content of conversations. The approach will need to be nuanced depending on the brand, and will consist in looking for evidence in conversations of planned adoption.

Sentiment

Sentiment might also be useful in this context as it will provide an overlay of potential drivers and barriers to adoption.

If you want to discover more about how Convosphere can help your business and how social listening can provide actionable business insights, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Our global insights team conducts social listening in over 70 languages to answer our clients’ most important business questions with actionable insights that deliver impact.

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