Dealing with Data

We have access to more data now than we’ve ever had before because we have a growing number of people producing that data at every moment of every day through their online social channels. Marketers are now faced with the challenge of turning that data into something, whether that’s marketing strategies, opportunity spotting, threat tracking or something else.

The Amount

The challenge with this data is that there’s so much of it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount. Capturing it is one hurdle. Turning it into actionable information is entirely something else. There’s a lot of noise, and marketers are challenged with finding the information that matters within that huge set of data.

The Terminology

Social media measurement doesn’t follow the same metrics that marketers are used to. What does a “like” really mean? Does it mean a user actually “likes” something, or does it mean the user finds it so off-putting that they want to share it to have their friends as shocked as they are?

Marketers must align on what metrics mean to their businesses and establish consistency throughout the organization.

Getting Our Hands On It

Everyday marketers are establishing their presences on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but rightfully so, those platforms are only giving us so much data. That data is part of their business plans, but it means marketers can’t rely on them to get them the data they need all the time. Marketers need to find ways to measure what’s important to them and get access to that data. If a specific platform won’t give them that data to prove success, another platform may be a better option.

Deal With It

The tools aren’t perfect. Time and money are scarce, and we still haven’t figured this out, but marketers can start today.

Choose and implement the right measurement platforms, whether they monitor online conversations, track website conversions and so on. Choose the right tools for what you aim to measure, and hire people to use them. There’s a ton of data, and measuring is only half the battle. People need to be analyzing it, learning from it and communicating those leanings to the proper stakeholders.

Establish metrics early on. Don’t wait until you’ve had a Facebook Page for six months and then decide that the number of impressions matters. Align on objectives early on and choose the metrics that align with those objectives. That way everyone’s on the same page in terms of what to measure, why and how. It also means you’re measuring what matters to your business and not getting overwhelmed by metrics that don’t relate to the objectives.

Don’t rely on platforms to give you what you need. Use any means you can to track your objectives such as trackable links, unique coupon codes, etc. The point is make sure you can get the data you need before getting started.