Sunday, 8 August 2010

Social Media ROI

Last week I was set a challenge by a colleague/boss to calculate how many people a social media campaign would reach / engage with.

So, I used the 1:9:90 rule of participation, which states that in online social communities:
  • 1% of the audience create stuff: Creators
  • 9% comment or edit content: Commenters
  • 90% just watch, or read stuff: Spectators
Taking a community that has 4,000 people actively creating stuff that can be considered content about a brand, then you get:
  • 36,000 Commenters
  • 360,000 Spectators.
What I also did was look at the impact of the 36,000 commenters' social graph. Based on the community being in Facebook [which in the challenge, it was], then the commenting and editing of brand content will be spread through each Commenter's social graph i.e the Commenters' Facebook Friends will see that they have commented on the brand's content.

The average number of Friends a person has on Facebook is 150. So, the total reach of the campaign is 36,000 multiplied by 150 = 5.6M.

I know I've made a lot of assumptions, but so does the TV advertising industry and print media advertising industry - they extrapolate behaviour for the nation based on a sample size and assume that no one walks out of the room when the adverts come in and that everyone reads every page of every issue of a newspaper.

If we get to do the campaign, then I can put my theory to the test. Fingers crossed.


Fezzer said...

The IAB have been tackling this issue for some time prior to the social media revolution and our industry is far more fragmented now than ever, so achieving an acceptable measure to all is going to be tricky even more for agencies and community managers fighting for an appropriate allocation of budget. I think your thought process is sound - but do think the key is a standard currency which Press, radio and tv all have.
The key for me is link the activity to the digital objective at hand:
SEO, Sales, Increased conversations online etc...
And if that fails remind them why Pepsi opted for a large scale social media CSR campaign as opposed a SuperBowl TV ad!! ;)

Robin Wilson said...

Hey, thanks for your comment. I agree completely and I'm not sure if the industry will ever get there. But, because it is new and untried by some brands, we will always get asked to compare it to traditional forms of marcomms.
I think linking it to a business objective is always preferable. The difficult bit is showing how it affected a business objective, when so many other variables can have an impact.