When talking with pharmaceutical marketers about social media I am often asked the question “how do we measure it?” Last month Google announced their launch of social analytic reports in a post on their Google Analytics blog. The reports aim to help marketers determine the value of their social media efforts by connecting social media statistics with business metrics.
Measuring the value that comes from social media has always been a difficult task. Many marketers have been dreaming of a way to measure the impact of social media on their site. It is normally said that social media improves the number of visits and interactions with your site, but exactly how much of an improvement it makes has been unclear. Google Analytics, however, tries to fix this problem with their social reports.
The goal with the new reports as Phil Mui , Group Product Manager at Google Analytics, expressed it, is “to tie social activities and referrals to measurable, meaningful economic value so businesses can more effectively evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value”.
The reports from Google are different from other social media listening services such as Radian 6 which is more focused on counting mentions, re-tweets, analyzing sentiment, and so on. The social analytic reports aim at helping you identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to actions such as signing up for informational material about a disease or treatment. In other words, the reports will show the correlation between activities in social media compared to HCP and patient sites. Moreover the reports help you understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs). Finally the reports help you make more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs.
Some sections of the reports have the ability to dig further into data and reflect comments, shares, likes etc. right within Google Analytics. The Social Data Hub, a platform that social networks and other social platforms can use to integrate their social data with Google Analytics, makes this possible by sending activity into Google Analytics. Large networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn are currently not in the Social Data Hub , so the new social reports will not include activity from these platforms. However most of the reports work even without Social Data Hub participation.
When speaking of social media the pharmaceutical stakeholders often ask about reporting of adverse events since this is often seen as an issue. As I have mentioned in a previous post, studies find such reportings to be minimal if even present on social media platforms.
While Google Analytics as a tool to measure social ROI isn’t perfect, it is a big step for marketers in being able to measure ROI. This helps to better prove the value of social media and will most likely lead to an increase in the use of social media among brand managers, e-business consultants, market researchers etc.
Google says they will be rolling this out over the next few weeks and I am looking forward to having a closer look at this new service. I will in a future blog post evaluate the reports and look into the value they can add to pharma businesses.