Aligning Digital and Traditional Analytics
Just because digital media has exploded and subsequently created an abundance of data does not mean that traditional media and analytics are dead. In fact, when used together, digital data can strengthen traditional data and vice versa.
The best measurement approaches examine traditional media trends alongside digital media trends. Because consumers spend their time in and behave in an omni-channel, online and offline world, flowing across different devices and screens, marketers everywhere are attempting to come up with integrated programs and should therefore be developing integrated measurement strategies to more accurately gauge effectiveness of their programs.
At this point, marketers may be more familiar with traditional metrics than with digital metrics, so we have outlined what traditional research tactics you should continue to engage in even if you are gathering mountains of digital data.
The mainstream and digital trade press have published a number of articles arguing that surveys and other forms of primary research are dead. In fact, with rare exception, primary research is still a very important input for companies of all sizes.
As abundant as digital data is, it cannot entirely answer certain things for communicators. Some of those measures include the following:
Brand perception—We have seen a number of studies attempting to tie social presence to overall brand reputation, and, at least at this point, those studies are incomplete. Unless marketers ask very specific questions of the target audience, using online sentiment and volume to ascertain how a brand is currently perceived would be very difficult. Some decent assumptions can be made, but the story is incomplete.
Message resonance—Message resonance is a metric included in the social analytics section, but it is still something that requires offline testing. Just because an online audience is picking up a key message does not mean it is because of the company’s program. Plus, hard as it is to believe, some targets are still much more likely to engage offline than online.
Executive reputation—Despite the growth in the number of brands engaging in social media activities, the corporate executives at those brands have not adopted social media at the same rate of speed. Those executives who do are genuinely embraced by the online community following the brand if they communicate authentically. When the communication is authentic, the brand does see a benefit. How much benefit? It is hard to tell without asking the online community following your brand, “Why?”
Advertising performance—Historically, there has been very little experimentation in the testing of ads online. Typically, the ads were produced, run on traditional channels, and then posted to social networks. Not only is posting advertising verbatim to social networks not interesting, there is also a small chance it will not resonate if it contains no comedic value. This continues in 2018, but more and more brands are adopting best practices for developing the right content for the right channel. Quickly and efficiently testing advertising in small, highly targeted focus groups is still the most effective method. Many platforms allow for this and in 2018 there really isn’t a compelling reason not to be doing so. Facebook is a good example here, giving you the option to run a variety of tests across ad groups and optimize in real-time based on the highest performer.
Traditional Media Monitoring
Social listening has made most of the traditional media monitoring platforms obsolete. However, traditional platforms still pick up plenty of publications that social ones do not. If you were to ask about building a list of reporters for a traditional media outreach, the first place to turn would not be a social listening platform.
We are not advocating that communicators should go out and spend big money on traditional media monitoring platforms. What we are advocating is that if you need to find recent articles in the mainstream press, you should pick the right tool for the job. In almost every case, the right tool for the job is a traditional monitoring platform.
Traditional CRM Data
The field of social customer relationship management (CRM) is growing, but it is still limited to a specific channel. There is still valuable intelligence on our customers that we need to be leveraging from traditional CRM databases. Brands aren’t yet able to easily plug a CRM data source into all the social and digital platforms that they operate in. Today, it would require a custom, intensive effort for each specific social channel they would want to implement this on. Now, the goal here isn’t to abuse the wealth of data that digital media creates on our customers by just dropping it into a database and forgetting about it. Rather, the goal is to look for trends we can identify from our traditional databases, look for the similarities and differences in online behavior, and try to understand how that information can be used to deliver relevant and personalized consumer experiences across all the digital touchpoints that they have with your brand.