On My Watch

Monday, October 06, 2008

Social Media and Engagement

Measuring Social Media

This post from Online Marketing Blog has several useful online marketing links but two, in particular, taken together reinforce a thread I have begun to follow - that is Engagement Metrics and Social Media. Looking at #4 (linking to 237 examples of brands using social media) and #10 (linking to a white paper from WebAnalyticsDemystified ) suggests a possible formulation for measuring the impact of community on engagement and on community engagement itself.

Engagement Metrics

The white paper, Measuring the Immeasurable: Visitor Engagement, postulates a possible formula to measure engagement:


  • Ci = Click Depth Index capturing the contribution of page and event views

  • Di = Duration Index capturing the contribution of time spent on site

  • Ri = Recency Index capturing the visitors “visit velocity”—the rate at which visitors return to the web site over time

  • Bi= Brand Index capturing the apparent awareness of the visitor of the brand, site, or product(s)

  • Fi=Feedback Index capturing qualitative information including propensity to solicit additional information or supply direct feedback

  • Ii= Interaction Index capturing visitor interaction with content or functionality designed to increase level of Attention the visitor is paying to the brand, site, or product(s)
  • Li=Loyalty Index capturing the level of long-term interaction the visitor has with the brand, site, or product(s)

I am not sure how practical these are in practice but, upon initial read, they seem to address at least some of the shortcomings of traditional engagement measures, such as session duration, page views per session. But even it is the best, most workable model for online media, the question to me is whether it sufficiently covers social media and communities. For example, are blog comments properly accounted for? What about friends lists and social graphs?

Which leads to the second item - the 237 examples of brands. More to the point, 237 initiatives are listed, some more effective than others but, at the end of the day, only metrics can tell us which ones are which and these metrics need to align with each community's and social initiative's objectives.

Social Media

Take one of them - Oracle Community . Oracle, as another example of a software company looking to bridge their disparate developer and partner communities, puts a number of communities - Oracle Technology Network, Oracle Partner Network, Oracle Ace Program, OSpace, Oracle Customers and others - under this umbrella. Then add the Open Source communities not included here, such as Berkeley DB.

Bottom line is the need to manage these disparate yet interrelated Oracle-focused communities. How well do these engagement metrics apply to the properties under this umbrella? Although there is obviously significant community overlap (e.g. between developers/architects and partner channel managers), there are also significant community differences. And the metrics (both what is collected and how they are collected) need to reflect both the similarities and differences.

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