The early stages of determining social media success have been dominated by questionable metrics such as number of followers and other variables that are considered soft measurements. Some information provided in January from Bazaarvoice and The CMO Club via eMarketer tells the story of C-level marketers applying the same hard measurements to social media as they have been moving to in all other areas of marketing, mainly conversions and revenue generation.
The jump made from 2010 to 2011 as to the importance of conversions is dramatic. It is bigger than revenue generation likely because it is still quite difficult to tie revenue directly to social media since there are many influences in the eventual purchase of an item beyond just social media.
Other data from the study shows that despite the seeming ‘unsexiness’ of blogging and community building (as compared to social media plays like Facebook and Twitter) they are the techniques that generate the most ROI in the eyes of these high level marketers.
As the C suite starts to get on board with more definitive or finite measures of social media success how will that change the use of the mediums? Are the days of simply acquiring followers / fans / likes as a measure of success gone for good? According to these findings, not completely and they will likely never just become completely irrelevant.
What will happen, however, is that over time the C suite will continue to identify those success metrics that will make their jobs easier and hopefully change a disturbing metric that they live with every day: the average life span of a CMO is somewhere between 22 and 24 months.
Ouch. Now that’s finite.