This is a post I have intended to write for a while; I am creating it with two specific objectives in mind:
- Verify if the needs I describe here resonate with those that are responsible for designing and executing marketing strategies that leverage major social networks such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo,hi5, etc.
- Use it as a public request for those within the product planning and engineering teams in those social networks, so they can consider these needs for future releases.
Allow me to preamble with a couple points that will set the stage:
- Marketing applied is a combination of art and science; the science part is supported by reliable, complete and granular data that allows to understand what is happening where and provide enough hints as to why t is happening (granted, there is ethnography, sociology, psychology, etc. as well and they are all important).
- Marketing efforts need to be multi channel; social media needs to support and be supported by other media channels (such as display, SEM, etc.); these efforts need to be optimized and measured end to end.
Let’s take one specific scenario (there are many other valid variations):
In this imaginary campaign we use display media (nside or outside social networks) to drive consumers to a social network page/profile, in that page/profile we offer a number of opportunities for engagement (with the brand and with other consumers) which carry a payload, when a consumer engages his/her participation is reflected / reported across his/her social graph and a percentage of those that see that report will themselves be motivated to visit the page and engage as well, impacting their own social graph in turn and so on.
The metrics / instrumentation we need to have in order to truly optimize this scenario are:
1.- Be able to track from display media to landing on the social network page / profile; what creative seems to work better? What message?
2.- What engagement opportunities seem to be more effective in converting visitors into participants and carry the payload? What type of media, message, and engagement activity works the best?
3,4,5.- What is the best way to inform/reflect the user activity for the members of his/her social graph? What is the most effective choice of presentation and message in terms of prompting action from those people? Who are the most important individuals among my fan base? Who propagates faster? Farther? To more people?
6.- VERY IMPORTANT What seems to be the most effective combination of all of the above to achieve the most optimum path? (Optimum is defined by the business objectives pursued).
To my knowledge there is no major social network that, alone or combined with other partner solutions, can deliver on such over encompassing view of the flow and enable optimization throughout today.
What do you think? Are these capabilities something you need? Know of any major social network working on delivering on these?