In a big picture there three major types of media and they could be broken down like Paid, Earned, and Owned.
Paid Media is like buying an ad online or buying a TV ad spot
Earned Media is like being covered on some major blog or news
Owned Media is something that you own like a website
Now a days, the line between these different medias are blurry because they could be acting as both. For example, in Facebook, you can own a Facebook page as an Owned Media, buy an ad as a Paid Media, and earn some mentions through likes/shares. So if you’re trying to build your brand it becomes extremely important to figure out which media channels would work best for you. You bet, analytics will tell you rather you executed your plan well or not. So the question becomes how do you come about setting up the Analytics plan for these three different types of media.
As the Mashable blog mentions, the conversations on Social Networks never stop, brands can’t buy a conversation and just stop it. This indicates the metrics plan would need to take into consideration beyond the cost of the media buys, especially if you need to make sense of how well you did cross media.
Mashable blog: How Social Media Is Changing Paid, Earned & Owned Media
I’ve seen various models that it becomes pretty confusing. You go to conferences and experts are show casing different ideas. If you were to step back and look at it, you need to make sure you set different metrics expectations at two different major buckets.
1. Bottom-line KPIs
2. Operational and tactical metrics
What do I mean when I say bottom-line KPIs…
This means that you’ve selected few critical few KPIs, and it is enough to tell the key stakeholders that your marketing program worked or did not worked.
Taking three fundamental metrics in eCommerce as an example, traffic -> basket -> sales. Did your program bring enough traffic according to the plan/target, did you converted the target audience, and how much did you make at the end of the program in currency (in other words, ROI).
Typically, that is what c-level managements care about, and the rest is operational metrics that supports what worked and what didn’t.
Here are the three typical steps that could be followed in thinking of formulating your “critical few KPIs” that matter for each media types. These are examples only, but I think it would help thinking in the right direction.
- How much ad exposures the campaign ads had, traffic did it get?
- How many of those eye balls translated to prospects, turned into leads, converted, etc.
- Did you meat the expected ROI or sales through the campaign period?
- Did your owned media get enough traffic as expected, and did it see any incremental lift in in-direct traffic via view-throughs?
- Did your owned media did its job in effectively driving conversions?
- Did the owned media assisted and contributed to the bottom-line during the campaign period? By how much?
- How much posts or mentions did you brand have?
- Did the posts turned into conversations? (i.e. re-tweets, replied comments, etc.)
- Did the conversations through Earned Media yielded positive growth in positive sentiments of your brand? Correlations to sales?
Overall — don’t forget, each of these medias are related, since they don’t work in silos. That means we also need to holistically look at these different media types.
- Total brand exposure (traffic, impressions, brand mentions, etc.)
- Outcome (non-dollar outcome that are critical to the business)
- Incremental sale contribution and ROI of the program
Operational Metrics then will speak to the managements and experts in granular detail. They need to understand what really worked and what didn’t worked. They need to be able to scrape off any learnings as much as possible to make any future marketing investments a success.
Again, these are examples only, every marketing campaign has its own objectives and goals so make sure you’re fully aware of it in coming up with the operational measures.
- Where did the traffic fell short. At which partner ads, ad placements, ad size, landing page, creative type, etc.
- What part of the behavior funnel did or did not resonated well with the target audience? Looking at various ratios are pretty common.
- ROI, ROAS
- Cost of traffic. i.e. CPC, CPM, Cost per conversions, etc.
- Incremental traffic exposure using on-site ads. How much did the site contribute?
- Did the conversion rate matched your expectation? Was the conversion efficiency good or bad? Was a great landing page?
- Did it support driving the media cost down as you got more eye-balls from your owned media?
- Which social network service worked the best in terms of # of mentions about the brand or products.
- Which topics, timing, influencers contributed to the lift post campaign period.
- Any correlation or causation to sales from the trended buzz around your brand during the marketing efforts? What was it that resonated with the end users that seems to positively impact sales or business outcome.
Overall — for operation metrics
These should be the KPIs or second tier of detail metrics that will tell each functional managers rather their strategy worked or not. (Functional managers could be Marcomm, CRM, Web/UX team, etc.)
Think it through it really hard, and make sure you’re using metrics that are familiar with the team, and make sure the key stakeholders are in alignment with what you’re measuring.
It is always important to keep in mind that consumers don’t draw the lines between these different types of media. It is the business who draws the line. Therefore, the analytics should really be tracking success of the marketing program, and making sure the metrics are set up to track what worked and what did not.
Every metrics you track and report should have some target or goals. Sometimes, it could be based on an assumption, and it is not a bad thing at all if you miss that target. For example, if expected conversion rate is 1.0%, but you got 0.8%, but the sales were 1.1x above the goal. That will just tell you to ask yourself, why and where the conversion rate fell short. That learning is actually what will help your business learn and better plan for future marketing program.
Given that the these different medias are playing together in real life, it is important for analyst to look at how these medias are playing together. No channel works in isolation. Earned media would more likely need some spark from the paid media to get data start moving. The KPI ideas I’ve brought up for the medias are pretty vertical, but in reality consumers and your business are working horizontally. Consumers’ journey aren’t linear, customer service/retension may have some positive impact that is not part of the marketing efforts.
Important thing is to set your tracking point, metric, and expectation. Learn from it, and overtime, expand your research horizontally and bring that insights forward. It is absolutely critical for analytics analyst to understand the business questions, and provide answers as much as possible. Stay focus though, because depending on the objective, one could be more important than the other and people could get confused with bunch of data that are not relevant to them.