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Determining the Impact of 
Customer Relationships 
Social Media Measurement & Analysis  

4970 El Camino Real
Los Altos, CA 94022

Karen O’Brien  Chris Terschluse 
Partner  Social Media Analyst  
Interactive Services   Interactive Services  
 Copyright © Crimson Consulting, Sept. 2009  


The Internet has become a vibrant social
space transformed by web platforms that have enabled
communication, collaboration, and sharing amongst
individuals online. Online audiences look to build networks
and relationships via the social web to connect with people,
organizations, and content relevant to their own personal
experiences. In social media marketing, marketers must
work to establish and maintain these online relationships to
create an impact on critical business objectives.

Today, more than two-thirds of marketers have adopted

social media. While adoption may be widespread, many still
do not understand how to effectively leverage social tools to
provide measurable outcomes. Crimson’s work with a
variety of Fortune 1000 companies, has shown that many
organizations are in various stages of social media
adoption. While each organization has different needs and
“Although  uses for social media, providing measurable business
companies  outcomes for digital marketing efforts has become a

understand the  necessary challenge for all marketers.

importance of  Understanding the type of data that exists on the social

social media and  web, as well as defining relative metrics for social media
PR measurement,  measurement, paves the path for impactful analysis.

they have not yet  Insights gained from social media measurement can

provide direction for both strategy development and
mastered  optimization. Defining strategic objectives and relevant
execution”  success metrics for social media campaigns will give
­MarketingProfs  marketers the knowledge necessary to determine the
financial impact of social media marketing efforts.  



The online audience not only connects with colleagues,

 friends, and family, but a growing majority is establishing
connections with brands and products via social
 networks, blogs, micro-blogs, and other forms of social


media. In a recent study by eMarketer, 52% of US social
network users respondents stated that they had become
a fan/follower of some company or brand. Another 46%
said something positive about a brand/company,
70% of  compared to 23% who had stated something negative
about a brand/company. Whether companies like it or
marketers do not  not, online audiences are talking about their product,
believe they  organization or brand, making it important to listen to
adequately  what customers are saying and establish a dialogue.
measure their 
own social media  Understanding how to effectively monitor and measure a
campaigns  social media campaign sets apart those organizations
that successfully utilize social media from those that fail
to justify its value. In a recent poll by MarketingProf’s,
more than 70% of respondents did not believe their
companies adequately measured their social media
campaigns. The study also concluded that 25% of
marketers did not know what to measure, while another
30% stated they lacked the necessary resources. At a
time when social media marketing continues to grow in
importance and use, effective measurement has become
an essential component of social media marketing.
Understanding how to measure social media allows
marketers to learn about their customers and create
highly optimized campaigns that provide value both
financially and strategically.  




Figure 1.1 

Social media marketing can be approached as a cyclical
process in which organizations listen, measure, engage,
and then optimize marketing efforts. Organizations can
also approach social media marketing by adopting one or
more of these strategy components (Figure 1.1). For
example, BMW’s Mini Cooper team used social media
monitoring (listening) in order to develop critical insights
from the online audience. These consumer insights were
then used to determine the direction and message of their
entire marketing mix, both traditional and digital.

Companies that adopt an engagement strategy must first

employ the listening stage of the social media marketing to
effectively engage their target audience. For example, Dell
used social media listening for brand management. Dell
began their social media efforts by monitoring
conversations around their products and services to identify
relevant and pertinent discussions. They were then able to
segment and target their blogger outreach and Twitter
strategies to maximize impact and influence of customer
conversations around the brand.


Today, more than ever, people research products and services online
 before making a purchase. A recent Nielsen Global Online Consumer
Survey revealed that recommendations by personal acquaintances

 and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms
of advertising. The survey showed that 90% of online audiences trust
90% of online  recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust opinions
audience’s  posted online. Social media marketing utilizes a pull strategy, allowing
customers to reach out to those products, services, and brand that are
worldwide trust 
relevant to their own experiences. Therefore, it is essential that
recommendations  organizations know where and how to engage this audience to provide
from people they  value in a relevant and personal manner. Through the social media
know, while 70%  listening process, organizations can find answers to these questions
and determine how to establish connections to effectively market a
trust opinions 
product or service via the social web.
posted online 
Listening to the online audience essentially serves as a virtual focus
group. Conversation occurs across a wide array of social web
components such as ratings/review sites, blogs, multimedia sites,
wikis, and social networks. Real-time data allows marketers to identify
trending topics of conversation around products or services and can
even identify influential members of the target audience. Listening
reveals insight into satisfaction, brand association, brand loyalty,
product ideas, product improvements, demographics, competitor
activities, and market opportunities. Organizations can use social
media monitoring to gain a deeper understanding of the online
audience that will help guide marketing strategy development. For
example, social media listening can be used for brand management.
Organizations can monitor the online conversation to discover what
audiences are saying about their brand and then determine how to
tailor their brand message.


Social media marketing allows organizations to establish meaningful
and impactful relationships with their target audience that build trust
and authenticity. Social media marketing works similar to offline
conversation and business networking. A dialogue is established in
which both parties exchange thoughts and ideas. The exchange
allows individuals to find relevant connections, which may then lead to
a relationship. Companies need to begin their marketing process with
social media monitoring to first listen to conversations occurring
online. Listening to and analyzing online communication helps
marketers decide their level of involvement, whether it be monitoring
the online conversation, participating in it, or leading the conversation. 


 The impact of customer relationships via social

media must be measured in terms of the media itself (sites

 like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.), the target
customers, and the total impact on business outcomes such

 as sales and market share. The Internet today can provide
both valuable quantitative insight (what, when, where), as
well as rich qualitative insight (how & why).


Traditional web analytics offer quantitative insight into use
of the media. Tracking metrics such as traffic, click through
rate, and bounce rate, provides information about the
number of people visiting the site, length of page view, and
click path. This data effectively measures the reach and
frequency of the audience’s media use, and can easily be
monitored through traditional web analytic tools. Advanced
social media analytic tools are also beginning to integrate
Sources for web traffic pin points traditional web analytics into their monitoring dashboards.
exactly what sources drive unique
visitors to the website These layered tools give organizations a 360-degree view
of their online marketing efforts.

Measuring and understanding the reach and frequency of
social media use allows businesses to determine the web’s
impact on important outcomes such as awareness and
sales. Using traditional web analytics, marketers can work
to optimize metrics like traffic, unique visitors, inbound links,
and unique visitors through SEO and social media
marketing efforts.

Traditional web metrics are an essential component of
social media measurement, as they provide a good
indication of reach and frequency. These metrics directly
Traffic generated per blog posting relate to important objectives such as awareness,
gives insight into content strategy successful content strategy, and site design. Metrics like
by identifying posts that drive traffic traffic can be linked to both online and offline, marketing
efforts through embedded codes or URL’s used to assess
campaign penetration. Web analytics can identify sales
attributable to affiliate marketers and leads generated by
social media content. Metrics such as bounce rate, time
spent on site, and click through path, also provide valuable
insight into successful website design and overall user

Social media analytics provide qualitative insight into the


 audience’s thoughts, feelings, activities, and demographics.

As people continue to share and converse online, this type
of data becomes more rich and insightful. Tracking metrics
such as online sentiment, brand associations, trending
topics of conversation, product ratings/reviews, number of
comments, and opinions helps marketers identify who their
customers are and what they are saying about a product or
brand. This data, combined with traditional web analytics,
can also measure how engaged individuals are with online
content, which helps determine the level of influence
individuals maintain within their online social graph. By
understanding influence and engagement, marketers can
then reach out to customers and effectively establish

Conversational sentiment reveals

\ audience opinion and satisfaction with
products/service or organization. Measuring and understanding audience thoughts and
behavior, as well as engagement and influence can provide
actionable insights for marketers. Social media analytic
tools collect conversational data from across the social
web. These tools present conversational data in a number
of ways including time-series trend charts, tag clouds,
online sentiment by product or topic, share of conversation,
sphere of influence, and engagement. This data can then
be combined with traditional web metrics to provide even
Real-time conversational trends more accurate insight into the impact of marketing
measure conversational activity and
identify buzz campaigns.

Time-series charts and tag clouds drill down topics of
conversation around a brand, pinpoint increases/decreases
in buzz, identify brand associations and other related
trending topics. Online sentiment provides insight into
product/service satisfaction and qualitative opinions about
brands. Share of online conversation is a good
determinate of online market share. Organizations can
even measure brand associations around topics of
conversation with competitors. Other sets of data such as
demographic data or behavioral data can also be utilized to
Social media analytic tools identify identify the level of influence of the online audience. Social
influence based on customizable pre- media analytic tools may then contain workflow
determined criteria: sentiment, authority,
components that allow marketers to then easily monitor
# of comments/responses, and reputation
and engage brand advocates, prospective leads, or
dissatisfied customers.


Marketers should combine both traditional web analytics with social media analytics when measuring
social media efforts. Utilizing both sets of data will allow marketers to draw comprehensive conclusions
about measurable impacts on strategic objectives.


Google Analytics: Free web analytic service that is offered
over the Internet. Users paste a snippet of HTML code on
web pages to receive a full dashboard of web analytics.
Google Analytics is a fairly sophisticated tool that can also
be synced with Google Adwords to maximize SEO.

Omniture: A subscription based enterprise class web

analytics service. Omniture’s SiteCatalyst also integrates
analytics for social websites Twitter & Facebook and
features advanced video and mobile analytics.
Webtrends Analytics 9 
Webtrends: Webtrend’s powerful Analytics 9 tool provides
a similar enterprise based solution to monitor traditional
web analytics. Analytics 9 features unique data mining &
analysis tools, that allows users to easily make sense of the


Radian6: A social media monitoring tool with a very visual

and intuitive user interface. The tool offers real-time social
media listening analysis, social media metrics, CRM
capabilities, and team collaboration and workflow. The
tool can also integrate traditional web analytics into it’s

Visible Technologies: Visible Technologies offers a wide

range of tools such as truVoice and truPulse that monitor
Radian6 Dashboard 
conversations from across the web and allow for direct
engagement via the tool.

BuzzMetrics: Social media monitoring tool offered by

Nielsen. Aggregates conversations from across the web to
give insight to brand reputation, customer management,
product management, and campaign tracking and



Effective engagement occurs after listening to online

 conversations and analyzing both the quantitative and

qualitative aspects of social media. The knowledge


 acquired through this process allows marketers to segment

the online audience through their use of social technology.
Marketers can then identify the sources of influence
“Companies that  amongst the online audience, whether it is influential blogs,
are both deeply  viral videos, social networks, or micro-blogs such as
and widely  Twitter.
engaged in 
social media  Marketers can further drill down the influence and general
surpass their  disposition of individual users into categories such as brand
peers in both  advocates, passives, or brand detractors. Using
Forrester’s technographic ladder (Figure 1.2), marketers
can segment the online audience by technology use,
and profit 
providing direction on how and where to effectively engage
performance by  the audience. Identifying the important and influential
a significant  members amongst the online community provides touch
difference”   points for the engagement strategy.
­ Wetpaint/Altimeter 
Engaging with customers establishes direct communication
with individuals to inform, energize, support, or embrace.
Reaching out to social influencers can create powerful
word-of-mouth marketing to authentically spread an
organization’s marketing message. Marketers can utilize
social tools to establish a dialogue with influencers and
provide them with relevant content and information, with the
expectation that they will spread positive messages among
the online community.

Marketers can use social tools in many ways such as

informing customers about new products or energizing
enthusiastic customers by recognizing brand advocates.
They can use social tools to support customers either
through forums or direct outreach to solve product/service
issues. Marketers can even embrace the online community,
allowing customers to come up with ideas to improve
products or services. Through these outreach and
engagement strategies, social media can transform
Figure 1.2  Forrester Research, Ladder of Social  marketing efforts into a powerful word-of-mouth engine.



Social media marketing is a dynamic process. Consistently


 benchmarking and measuring social media campaigns

leads marketers to social media optimization (SMO).
Marketers can optimize social media through number of
methods such as increasing user engagement, increasing
“The concept  inbound links, or making tagging and bookmarking easier.
behind SMO is  Actionable items such as RSS feed subscriptions, social
simple: implement  sharing buttons (Twitter, Facebook), downloads, uploads, or
changes to optimize  streams, should be tracked to provide an indication of
a site so that it is  effective content strategy. Items that attract stronger
engagement can be optimized across the site to encourage
more easily linked 
deeper interaction. Blogs can also help pinpoint content
to, more highly 
that drives traffic and encourages engagement. Social
visible in social  media marketers can use a simple metric, the
media searches on  conversational index (ratio of blog posts to comments/track
custom search  backs), to gauge their content strategy by subject or topic.
engines (such as  Marketers can then use this wealth of information to tailor
Technorati), and  and optimize content to increase traffic and interaction.
more frequently 
included in relevant  SHARING ONLINE
posts on blogs,  It is important to track and optimize viral marketing efforts as
podcasts and  they continue to become a major component of social media
marketing campaigns. Metrics for tracking shared content
can take the form of social velocity (rate a message travels
­ Rohit Bhargava  
  across the internet), direction (where the message is heard),
amplitude (the size of the conversation around a brand or
product), and period (the duration of the conversation).


Marketers can use these metrics to discover optimal
methods and locations for seeding the spread of their
content. Businesses may want to focus on channels with
the high social velocity to rapidly increase awareness or
channels that foster in-depth conversation to change
opinions and inform. Marketers can even work to stimulate
sharing of content by encouraging users to generate their
own content or integrating social sharing and bookmarking
tools on their website. Measuring these metrics around
shared content allows marketers to maximize the spread
and exposure of syndication. Creating related actionable
items within the video, image, blog etc, such as a link to a
branded website or an ecommerce store may also provide a
method to measure sales directly attributable to the content.



Sales Impact and ROI of social media marketing may be

 determined by layering data sets together and linking

traditional web and social media measurements to their

 impacts on sales metrics. While standard social media

measurement practices remain in their infancy, social media
 strategy development is critical. When assessing the
financial impact of social media marketing it is important to
 maintain clear campaign objectives backed by a set of well-


defined metrics. Social media measurement should be
tailored to the unique goals and objectives of the marketing
campaign or organization. Marketers can then use trend
analysis and statistical modeling to relate changes in social
media and web analytics to actual sales data.


Social media marketing, much like traditional marketing, can
be utilized to build awareness around a brand or product,
which may result with impact on sales reach or net new
customer count. Social media marketing may also increase
sales by tapping into customer relationships via the social
web. Marketers can use social media to encourage
customers to buy deeper into the product line and increase
average per transaction spending by cultivating brand loyalty
and customer service satisfaction. Marketers can also work
to increase buying frequency by shortening the time interval
between purchases through coupons and special offers via
communication tools like Twitter. Employing social
technologies can even result in signification costs savings.
For example, Linksys used a peer-to-peer support
community to reduce customer service costs. Measuring
these impacts of customer relationships will give marketers a
clearer understanding of a ROI for social media marketing.



While businesses continue to adopt social
media as an exciting new marketing practice, many still
struggle to justify an ongoing commitment and investment
in the channel. Many executives still consider social
media marketing as an experimental tactic rather than a
long-term growth strategy. This is understandable given
that 84% of marketing professionals still do not measure an
ROI for social media programs. Understanding how to
measure social media marketing’s bottom-line impact
allows marketers to communicate the value of their efforts
to key stakeholders. In a period where budgets remain
constrained and expenses must be justified, marketers can
only continue to integrate the channel into their marketing
mix once a method of obtaining a ROI has been
established. The ease of access and use of social tools
has led to the widespread adoption of the social web
among both businesses and consumers. It is now up to
the marketing professional to develop creative, well-
planned strategies to harness the power of social media
marketing as a successful business platform. Once
effective social media marketing strategies are put in place,
business may work to build valuable assets out of their
customer communities.

The Internet provides businesses with more in-depth

information on marketing efforts than ever before.
Understanding the type of data that exists on the web and
its multiple applications will help marketers create highly
measurable social media campaigns. Harnessing the
long-term value of social media marketing can only be
realized when short-term objectives provide impactful
results. Marketers must now strategically pave this path
toward meaningful social media measurement to determine
the true impact of customer relationships.



Since 1991, Crimson has provided product
and market, channel and interactive strategy and
implementation to some of the most successful companies
in the world. Our clients include Adobe, Cisco, eBay,
  Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Seagate,
Symantec, and Verizon. We are experts in the marketing
of technology solutions.

Our clients gain significant value from our contributions in

Questions? Contact: the following areas:

Karen O’Brien ■ Strategy Development

■ Research Analysis
Partner Interactive Services ■ Marketing Implementation
(650) 960-3600 ext. 335 Unlike other firms, we combine consulting best practices
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This combination results in deeper strategic insights and
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Copyright © Crimson Consulting, Sept. 2009