Measuring the Value of Twitter

Cameron Schilling



Social media is a great way for companies to engage with consumers and track conversations, but it is not always an easy thing to measure. Sure organizations can count the number of retweets, hashtags used and followers as a way to determine success, but how can the success of a Twitter campaign be accurately measured? This is one of the problems that businesses face when using social media. While there are tools available for measuring Twitter campaigns, these tools cannot take into account emotion and clutter and are based on numbers. Another factor in measuring is the loss of control once something is tweeted.

A recent example of this happening is with the Audi Super Bowl commercial that aired during this year’s game. At the end of the advertisement appeared the hashtag #SoLongVampires. Viewers were encouraged to tweet about the ad using this hashtag. One of the glaring problems is that the association with Audi is not clear once this hashtag hits Twitter. Someone may see a friend’s tweet using the hashtag and may relate it to something completely different that has nothing to do with Audi but may actually be about vampires. How can they then measure the success of the campaign? There is also the question about whether or not the campaign was well received by the public. How can this be accurately measured when there is the possibility of so much white noise occurring?

Social media strategists need to look more at the end result than at the immediate product because some foresight could have prevented Audi from using such a vague hashtag. If strategists take measurement into mind before they roll out a social media campaign, they would be able to see the problems that could arise.

Measuring is not an easy thing to do because there are many different aspects that need to be taken into account that may not be measureable such as buzz. While numbers are important they are not everything. Being able to monitor the conversation surrounding a campaign is just as important as analyzing the raw data.

8 thoughts on “Measuring the Value of Twitter

  1. Measurement is definitely not easy. In fact, most cases you see companies doing it completely wrong. I did a case study for Edge Shave gel and their Twitter Campaign on relieving irritation; they are a great example of using good measurement. I recommend businesses check out Katie Paine’s book and blog, “Measure What Matters.” I have been reading her stuff in another journalism class and she has a lot of good advice for businesses. Social media is tricky, and if businesses want to get the most out of their measurements of success (or failure) then they must hone in on what really matters.

  2. I can’t get over how often Twitter campaigns don’t work and it brought to mind a campaign that Kelli posted on her Delicious page, #McDstories as known as a #McFail. McDonalds hoped that using the #McDstories hashtag that people would tweet about their quality ingredients, instead customers tweeted about their horrific McDonald experiences. Lets see them try to measure the success of that campaign.

    I remember thinking that they Audi campaign wouldn’t work but I didn’t think about it in the way you described. If i hadn’t see the commercial but saw the hashtag I would have thought it was something to do with Twilight. Which makes me wonder what Twitter campaigns were actually as successful as they were measured to be.

  3. I think the most critical piece that was mentioned is that measuring the number of times a brand is mentioned using social media ignores the content and emotion in its context. It is more likely for a consumer to use a public forum to share a negative experience that they had with a brand rather than a positive one. Simultaneously, negative comments generate more publicity and buzz than positive comments. Therefore, it is not effective to simply measure the amount of times a consumers is speaking about a company, it is more important to monitor satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction is nearly impossible to accurately measure.

  4. I think the Audi campaign is a perfect example of the importance of establishing an appropriate hashtag that connects the product to the brand so consumers can easily recognize the company. For example when Red Bull uses “#GivesYouWings”, users automatically connect that to Red Bull. Audi took one commercial and turned that into a hashtag that did not connect to the brand/product whatsoever. If we were to measure the success of the campaign solely on the number of retweets, we would not be able to gage the type of conversations (and confusion in this case). I agree that looking at exactly what is being said may be even more important than only looking at IF something is being said in order to measure any success of a campaign.

  5. I never really thought of the emotion that goes behind a Tweet and what that means for a campaign. I like your point that it shouldn’t just be about the numbers when measuring success, but about engagement. The hardest thing to do in a campaign is look to what will benefit the company in the future. It’s easy to make tactics that will give you an instant success, but your example speaks truth to the fact that planning it all out is very important to ensure measurement success.

  6. I agree with Shannon, I never thought about the emotional aspects of tweets. I think numbers aren’t as important as some believe. With social media it is all about keeping the conversation going and engaging with as many consumers, and people in general as possible. Great example, they definitely could have thought through how to make the hashtag more precise to make tracking the conversation easier.

  7. Nicholas Stevens

    I think every organization is going to have trouble measuring social media with their organization. With reference to your Audi example, it is important that hashtags are used correctly by your audience. This can be a problem. One other thing to add is that it will always be difficult to measure how positive your campaign was because negative comments are more likely to surface over the positive ones. Thus, creating difficulty for measuring if your campaign was truly a success or not.

  8. I struggle with this a lot when monitoring the social media for my internship. I am always trying to find new ways to measure the feedback we’re receiving and if we are actually reaching the right people. In the moment, it doesn’t seem like you’re making a lot of progress at times, but its the end results that matter.

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