The Moving (Data) Target

No one denies the role social media is playing in shaping our culture. We are mobile-first, social media mavens. We rely on the platforms to communicate, connect and stay up-to-date with the world around us. In many ways, we are living through our screens just as much as anything else. Marketers have had to adapt to this social shift. Customers’ lives revolve around social media, which means that in order to remain a part of customers’ lives, marketers  must also take on a social-first mentality. However, many brand marketers are still getting hung up on social media’s measuring problem – and rightfully so. For other areas of traditional and digital media, metrics are served on a platter and easy to digest. But there’s still a disconnect for social media. Many brand marketers feel that, because they don’t have holistic data, they are investing their marketing dollars somewhat blindly.

Social media is our current cultural currency. Social media users spend large chunks of their days liking, commenting, posting, retweeting and scrolling. Our minds are constantly on our accounts and we are constantly taking stock of what we see and how it makes us feel. We see social content on our morning commutes, from our desk seats, in our bathrooms, in our bedrooms –
basically all of our surroundings are the settings for this kind of content consumption. This makes social media a highly persona, always-on experience. We have an intimate connection to our social accounts and the content that we produce and consume. Social media feels like it belongs to all of us. Yes, we all have televisions ( or at least we did before the cord-cutting revolution began) but even television feels less personal because it’s not something that the average person can affect.

It’s incredibly frustrating not to be able to see the accurate  attributions, and subsequently, ROI of social media. What makes it even more complicated is the plethora of platforms across social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and now Snapchat and Periscope. The social data landscape is fragmented. And as more platforms emerge, and our dependence on these platforms deepens, it seems as though there is not an easy solution in sight.  More than half of social media marketers still say that measurement is their biggest challenge. Marketers are desperate to distinguish a metrics system that is accurately reflective of social media’s value, and it has not proved to be a one-size-fits all solution. Instead, marketers consider everything from comments to clicks to conversions. Yes social media, and subsequently influencer marketing, does not fit into a neat and tidy measurement mold. There is no tool or calculation that accurately and immediately assesses an ROI that every marketer will agree with. But that doesn’t mean that data doesn’t exist or data should be ignored. That’s not the case. There is an abundance of social media data available – marketers just need to determine what they’re looking for and why they’re looking for it.

We at Socialix believe, wholeheartedly, that numbers speak volume. Data helps us make our most informed, and often most successful decisions. But we also understand that social media is more than just click rates. Social media is a fluid and ever-evolving practice, which means that our approach to data must also be fluid and ever-evolving. We at Socialix believe, wholeheartedly, that numbers speak volume. Data helps us make our most informed, and often most successful decisions. But we also understand that the overall success of a campaign does not just hinge on engagement, or impressions or clicks as separate entities. When we silo these distinct data pieces, we set ourselves up for disappointment. But when we approach data with agility, assessing it on a campaign basis, that is when we see social media shine brightest. Social media has not ever and (likely) will not ever fit into a pre-determined box, so the data that informs our social media decisions should not either.

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