Are you really measuring what you want?

January 22, 2010 at 8:31 AM 6 comments

In July, I switched my social media mindset to take on a more professional tone. At this time, I set some goals for myself and decided that I would track my own progress and growth. However, at the same time, I knew what my ideal results would be, and in hindsight, I let this affect how I measured. While it’s always important to understand your goals and ideal results, sometimes we get too focused on these and lose sight of the truth.

Think about it. When you measure, are you thinking of the true results or your end goals?

I am guilty of focusing too much on the end goal. During my first month of blogging and Tweeting, I measured myself based upon the number of followers I gained. During the next month, though, I focused more on the number of @replies I got on Twitter, that is, I focused on how many people were responding or talking to me. But why the change?

Simple. I had far more total @replies than increase in followers during my second month. Is this accurate? Technically, yes. But does it really show the whole picture? Does it honestly track my progress? Of course not.

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. It’s easy to track the metrics which paint the best picture instead of consistently using the same metrics to measure your real progress. Catering to true goals and date, not to results, it the key.

This is not to say that sometimes mid-way through a campaign or program you can’t change your metrics or focus. Sometimes we realize after getting started that there are metrics we hadn’t considered which are much better suited to our needs. In this case, switch! Just be sure to retroactively asses your entire progress and not just recent weeks.

As measurement is becoming thrust on more and more of us, I beg you to think about whether you are truly measuring what you mean to be? Or are you just looking for the results you want?


Entry filed under: Measurement, PR metrics. Tags: , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan Higgins  |  January 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    Awesome! I feel the same exact way. However, maybe it is the enjoyment of digging deep and understanding how things work that appeals to us? 🙂 I myself look at times of the day my tweets are most effective. Followers per day are great… if they aren’t all bots (and if you really try just for followers, that is all you will get) I decided a while back that for every 100 followers, I really want 200 eyeballs. (Maybe 195.. you won’t always get those lazy eyes. ;))

    The most important things to me:

    1) Personality – I tweet who I am, what I like and what I suggest to others. This was my original goal. To have a great time and not become a drone/robot tweeter.

    2) Interaction – I love the chats and interaction that you can have on Twitter. It isn’t just about telling the world what you are doing. It is about networking.

    3) Provider – Give something back to those around you. I love our industry. I love numbers. I love how things work. With a little passion and enthusiasm, you can provide great knowledge and people will listen and learn.

    Thanks Rebecca! We think alike! 😉

    • 2. Rebecca Denison  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:08 PM

      Wow! Thank you for your great (and thoughtful!) comment. I really do appreciate it, and I’m glad to know we think alike.

      I just wanted to use tracking my own progress as an example, but I am so glad to hear what your own personal goals are and how you keep track!! I’m so glad to have found you last night in the u30pro chat. I know you’re in advertising and I’m in PR, but it’s good to know there’s someone else out there into measurement. Especially since I’m still pretty darn new and just trying to learn all I can.

      How did you get your start?

  • 3. Caleb Gardner  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    I was seriously just blogging about goals. We must have been writing it at the same time. Get out of my head! 🙂

    Thanks for the great post. I love reading your stuff. Keep up the good work.

    • 4. Rebecca Denison  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

      Whoa! Dude! You get outta my head!

      I read your hampster wheel post, too, and I loved it! We must be one in the same.

  • 5. Eric Goldman  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    For someone “new” you certainly do have a good handle on what is essentially a “lost art” – the science of measurement. Forgive my mixing metaphors like this (it is Friday evening), but most people don’t understand the importance of measurement, let alone know what to measure or how. So a big thanks for raising the topic.
    I come to the field of Inbound Marketing from a Process background and if you are not familiar with that, it’s mantra is Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat. I wrote a post about using this approach to run a Social Media Marketing campaign (SMM) and people seemed to find it useful because it not only suggested a way to run these things, but also discussed what to measure and how. Here’s the link:
    We have been suggesting to our clients for some time now, that the only true measure of a marketing campaign’s worth, is its ROI. But everyone kept telling us you can’t measure ROI, especially for a SMM campaign. We wrote a series of posts on how to do this. I won’t give all 3 links here, as the posts are interlinked on the site. The first post describes how to measure the ROI of your website as a whole, the 2nd one provides a list of the 10 best free ROI calculators on the web, and the last explains how to build your own ROI calculator. This is a link to the 1st one:
    And lastly, in case people find this helpful, here’s what I track regarding our SMM campaigns. I use an excel spreadsheet to record:
    1) The date
    2) The location or focus of effort (for example the name of the Group on LinkedIn and the name of the discussion)
    3) The url of any blog which I visit and leave a comment on
    4) The nature of the comment (taking a cure from Twitter, this is a less than 140 char summary)
    5) The urls of any links I leave behind so that I can trace people clicking on one and arriving on our site back to this comment (working backwards from the source shown in Google Analytics (GA) or in Pardot, our Demand Generator).
    6) The amount of time it took me to do all the above
    And then the next day, I check both GA and Pardot to see what happened in terms of traffic. Using the 2 dashboards, I record:
    1) The GA site visits for the day before
    2) The Pardot “All Visitors for the past 30 days”. This is depicted in the Funnel Dashboard dial, which also shows for the past 30 days:
    2) The number of “active visitors” (those who visited more than 1 page)
    3) The number who converted by registering on our site (giving us their name and email address in return for downloading content),
    4) The number of prospects which have achieved, via their own Profile (Grade), and their online digital footprint behaviour (Score), a “sales ready” value (for us, this is a minimum of a C and 220) and who have on this basis been assigned to a sales person in our CRM.
    Using all this, I can tell pretty quickly just how many visitors my SMM activity of the day before produced, and how good the quality of these leads was, based on the ratio of conversions to visits. And of course the time I invested in doing this. Hence, a rough but very usable value for the ROI.

    • 6. Rebecca Denison  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM

      WOW WOW! Thank you so much for all of your links and tips and insight!

      I definitely need a bit of time to work through all of that, but I am so glad that you are as passionate about this stuff as I am. I studied biochemistry in college for 2.5 years before I switched to the journalism school, so I definitely have a great appreciation and love for measurement. I know it’s my weird hybrid of education that helps me out in my job today!

      Thank you so much for that quick way to figure out ROI, it’s an elusive metric sometimes, but I like the way you broke it down!


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