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How To Measure Social Media ROI In China

Consistency. Quality. Efficiency.

These are the words we must consider while constructing a vigorous social media campaign.

The world of social media has long been viewed as inept or wasteful philosophies lacking productivity. Money, time, and energy are exhausted without rhyme or reason, but that ends today.

This read will help comprehend how to quantify social engagement and its impact.

Measure With Purpose

There are two quantifiable measurements on the minds of successful businesspeople. These measurements include revenue and expenses.

When was the last time an accountant sat down and mentioned the number of social media followers, likes, or comments? It doesn’t matter!

Instead, the business and its accountant(s) try to determine the impact of these details on their bottom line (revenue and expenses).

Now, does this mean “WeChat Likes” or “Shares” don’t produce conversions? Does this mean comments on your Wechat posts are inefficient? No, indeed they do hold significance, but there is more to the story.

Instead, the premise is to understand why measuring these social media statistics can be misleading. The number of Wechat followers, likes, and Weibo followers you have is merely the tip of the iceberg.

However, there is a way to quantify social media campaigns and their impact on your business. It’s all about focusing your attention in the right direction.

We begin our research by highlighting the bad news.

Chinese Social Engagement Makes Quantifying Revenue Difficult

In fact, some campaigns are impossible to quantify. However, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. It’s all about digging deeper and dissecting the problem.

So, what is the problem?

It’s all about “attribution” according to marketing analysts.

Attribution is a term used to describe specific actions a buyer completed, which contributed directly to a sale. Once those actions are defined, each one receives a value.

It was in the 19th century when a businessman named John Wanamaker mentioned this issue. He stated half of his budget was wasted on advertising, yet he wasn’t sure which half!

This attribution issue has been around for centuries.

Marketers find it challenging to associate sales with specific marketing decisions or adjustments.

The same applies to digital marketing and social engagement.

While tools such as Google Analytics, WeChat’s Ad Manager, and others provide data, it’s often generic and empty. For example, the number of sales and related data can only yield so much before its unconstructive. Even some of the priciest tools fail to pass this attribution test.

Don’t Trust The “Last Click”

Most analytics tools give 100% credit (attribution) to the last click.

Many analytics tools point towards the last click as the sole catalyst for a sale.

Here’s an example:

  • Imagine a user heads to Baidu.com, typed in 红酒 – Red Wineand lands on your website. They scour through various red wines, like your social media page, and eventually click away from your website.
  • A week later, the same lead notices an article linked to your Weibo official account and clicks through. They read the article on 红酒 and leaves your website again.
  • Another week goes by and they’re on Baidu again. This time, the user searches “优质红酒 -Best Red Wines” and notices a Baidu search advertisement from your business. They remember your brand, click on the ad, and buy a bottle of red wine.

So, in the end, the interaction included ORGANIC SEARCH, Weibo, WeChat, and PAID SEARCH.

Google Analytics (and most tools) would attribute the sale to paid search and all previous interactions would be ignored.

The interactions through organic search and social media would be pushed aside as if they never occurred. While your paid search campaign would receive full credit.

The average businessperson would see this and assume it’s better to spend time/money on paid search.

This analytical model goes by the name “Click Attribution” and is an inefficient method to quantify the impact. It’s misleading and futile.

How To Measure The Right Way

Well, what is the solution then?!

While a picture-perfect solution doesn’t exist, it’s possible to optimize your analytical formula for attribution-related concerns.

Is this some super special attribution model reserved for large corporations?

No, it’s available through the average free Google Analytics as long as you know where to look.

Open Google Analytics and set your goals. The tool has a well-laid out the document on how to set goals and it’s best to read through it in advance.

Start by clicking “转化 – CONVERSIONS,” “属性 – ATTRIBUTION,” and “模型比较工具 – MODEL COMPARISON TOOL.” This will lead to a screen with various attribution models(归因模型) to choose from.

The tool provides users with the ability to alter how credit is attributed.

Let’s dissect each attribution model:

  • 最终点击模型(Last Interaction): 100% attribution goes to the last click.
  • 最终间接点击模型(Last Non-Direct Click): 100% attribution goes to the last click minus direct visits to a website.
  • 最终点击模型(Last Baidu Shangdun Click): 100% Attribution goes to the last click from an ad on Baidu.
  • 最初点击模型(First Interaction): 100% Attribution goes to the first visit within 90 days.
  • 线性模型(Linear): Equal credit is provided to each visit (within 90 days)
  • 时间递减模型(Time Decay): Recent visits receive greater attribution credit compared to older visits.
  • 地理方位模型(Position Based): Split attribution to first and last visits.

Based on the previous example involving red wines, the lead used Organic Search (SEO), Social Media, and a Baidu Shangdun Ad.

Which attribution model would work best in this scenario?

Time Decay(时间递减模型) and Linear(线性模型) are the two attribution models, which would give credit to social media engagement.

Based on the definitions of each attribution model, Time Decay and Linear are the only effective options. The remaining models don’t weigh social media engagement or any other form of marketing.

Google Analytics enables users to compare three attribution models side by side.

Continuing with the idea of red wines, let’s take a look at a comparison of each model.

With the Time Decay Attribution model, social media engagement receives 32% credit. While the Linear attribution model gives social media engagement 36% credit. With this information, it becomes easier for the business to note how valuable social media engagement is for their bottom line.

With the assistance of attribution modeling, businesses can gain a better understanding of social engagement and its impact on their revenue. As mentioned before, revenue is one of two important measurements!

Do these attribution models work 100% of the time? No, but they’re efficient in comparison to other formulas.

What about the good news then?

Cost Is Simple To Measure

Revenue is challenging to calculate. However, the cost isn’t.

What does cost entail?

It’s about understanding how much is spent on social engagement.

This is the number businesses need.

There are several questions to ask.

Are contests and giveaways set up with prizes? Are you hiring graphic designers for your social media account? What about employees or agencies hired to run your account?

Some businesses do all of this on their own.

Well, it doesn’t matter! There is a cost associated with your time too.

How much time are you spending creating Wechat comments or Weibo sharing? What is the value of your work hour? Are you worth $20? $40? $100?

Start multiplying the amount and that’s your cost.

For example, let’s assume you spend 30 hours on Wechat every month and you’re worth $100/hour. If that’s the case, you are spending $3000/month.

Let’s continue to dig deeper.

You will also want to calculate your “Cost per Engagement” over the course of a day, month, or year. This calculation is completed by adding up all social media engagements and dividing by your spend.

Here is an example using Spreadsheet,

Now, let’s use the same example as before where you spent $3000/month.

$3000 spend / 2850 engagements = $1.05 Cost Per Engagement

Of course, it’s not a simple process since it takes a while to add up your moments, shares, and Wechat posts.

Due to this reality, it’s best to leave the “Cost Per Engagement” calculation for quarterly/yearly reports. For those who wish to remain on top of this, it’s better to calculate the metric consistently.

What’s the next step while measuring cost?

You need to weight in other channels, tactics, and time periods.

For example, you might want to calculate Cost per Pinterest engagement, Cost per Wechat Contest Engagement, or % Increase in Social Engagement.

By digging deeper, you are able to analyze the intricacies of each engagement. In some cases, you might see a contest cost 25 cents/engagement, while another platform is costing 45 cents/engagement. The more you analyze, the more you learn before making informed business decisions.

What decisions could you end up making?

  • Should I continue with my graphic designer next month?
  • Is it better to pay a marketing agency to handle my WeChat official account?
  • Is it smarter to run a greater number of contests on my Weibo page?

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Well, there you have it! This is what you have to do while measuring or quantifying social engagement. It will become easier to make decisions impacting your costs and revenue.

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