Social Media Marketing Metrics & A Few False Conclusions We Make From Them

HUBSPOT, one of my favorite social media education sites on the web, recently posted a 21 Internet Marketing Stats, and I have a few differences of opinion regarding the stats and strategies indicated by them.

First up is Optimizing Your Facebook Engagement. Here’s the chart:

Facebook frequency vs engagement
click to view original TrackSocial data

Here’s HUBSPOT’s take: “The more posts per day, the less engagement — when a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post.” (hubspot: 21 amazing social media stats)

Okay, and those numbers do look pretty compelling. But there’s one significant hole in the data. If I post 5 times a day, and my LIKES and COMMENTS are about 25% per post, what they were if I posted only once, well, guess what that math says? Is that 125% the responses? And of course, without the real numbers, these percentages are only “relative” values.

So let’s say your 1 post got 5 LIKES and that’s our bench mark. 25% of that would be 1.25 posts per additional post. Your 5 posts would generate 6.25 posts. Who knows what a 0.25 post is? I don’t. So let’s multiply these numbers to a PEPSI-engagement level, to see what happens at scale. Taking a 100x example for a high-volume brand-type post: Pepsi gets 500 LIKES with only 1 post. BUT 625 LIKES with 5 posts.

The other, more telling tid bit from the TrackSocial post, says “…over-posting does have consequences, however the relatively modest rate of the drop-off gives brands an opportunity to perhaps post more frequently than they thought.” (tracksocial:  how frequently to post on facebook)

The real gorilla in the stat is what kind of content you post. Frequency in posting the same message over and over would show some problems. But if the content is relevant and current with the passage of time (a contest update, for example) the numbers might move in a much more positive direction. It’s not always how freqently you post, it’s “what you post.” For the most part, people don’t drop off due to frequency problems, they drop off due to 1. uninteresting content, or 2. lack of posting, or worse 3. lack of responsiveness.


My 2nd beef is with HUBSPOT over this statement, “20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there.” (hubspot: 21 amazing social media stats)

Here is the infographic produced by the “research and exchange” organization.

IPSOS a research and marketing study company
click to see the ipsos press release

Which is it 20% or nearly 25%? And where was this study conducted? What’s the market?

Here are the US numbers for that study.

IPSOS Social Network Influence Study - US NUMBERS
see complete study numbers

HM, 18% is not quite “nearly 1-in-4” now is it? Okay, they’re a global research company. And they are trying to make an infographic that SELLS more marketing studies. Easy enough.

What was the question, exactly?

“Have you ever… bought a brand because your friends “like” or follow the brand on a social network?”

So HUBSPOT at least went with a realistic number, but then labeled “social network” as FACEBOOK. There are others.

And who exactly is IPSOS? Here’s what they say, “Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company. With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos offers a complete line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel and online research products and services.” 1-in-4 buy because you LIKE or FOLLOW . (IPSOS-NA.COM)


Finally, this stat just seems so obviously DUH, I’m guessing they were really looking for that 21st stat pretty hard.

91% of online adults use social media regularly.” (Source: Experian) Social media is fully integrated into communication culture. Make sure it is an integrated part of your marketing strategy, too.

I’ve downloaded the Experian study to try and determine what an “online adult” is. Here’s as close as I got, “Among those who are online at least an hour or more in a week.”

So if you’re online, do you check your Facebook account or log into your WSJ or NYTimes account? Any form of engagement that’s not email or shopping, I guess counts. Experian just scares me. Since they bought HITWISE their exploration and potential exploitation of our social data has grown a bit too close for my personal comfort. But, what cha going to do, being a online adult, and all?


Of course we are all invested in figuring out how to make a revenue stream out of Facebook’s 800 million users. And some of that business is marketing and selling the data that proposes how to help us market and sell on Facebook. But it’s not yet clear that there are real winners in F-Commerce, besides the HUGE companies that have marketing budgets to blow on “branding” and “loyalty.” Most businesses I deal with, in the real world, have to assign value and ROI to every single marketing dollar.

Today, Facebook is part of the strategy, but it’s more of a show up because everyone else is there. Do show up, and do engage, but don’t bet the farm of Facebook advertising or your Facebook store. There are better buys in social media. And there are more productive social channels.

Well, I guess I’ve stirred the pot sufficiently for now. Question the metrics, the analytics, the infographics, and their conclusions.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Heck, here is one of the problems:

Can You buy facebook fans?

And a post I really like, from the automotive social media business:  We Got 20,000 Facebook Likes! Now What Do We Do? from Kathi Kruse

Reference: Book on HitWise and the aggregation and selling of our online data: Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters


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