LONDON: Brands need to stop counting likes and shares on social, and should instead start looking at consumer behaviour and its potentially significant impact on success.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, We Are Social's James Robinson and Mobbie Nazir, the agency's global research & insight director and chief strategy officer respectively, argue that social has evolved so that marketers should be considering long-term social motivations and drivers.

"The question now should be not how is my social media performing, but what impact has social insight had on my overall brand or campaign performance?" the authors state, adding that "measurement methodologies need to evolve in line with this new approach to social".

We Are Social's approach has involved identifying the most robust measurement methodologies and categorising them into three areas: Social Analytics, Brand Health and Commercial Impact.

Social Analytics includes measurement such as content reach and frequency; Brand Health includes methodologies such as campaign brand effect; and Commercial Impact covers areas such as attribution modelling or closed-loop ROI analysis.

In the paper, Robinson and Nazir acknowledge that many of their measurement approaches "are relatively well-established effectiveness measurement tools adapted to the social or digital context," but suggest that there is still scope for innovation within these.

This is only possible, however, if brands are clear about their objectives – "it's impossible to measure the effectiveness of something if the objectives have not been defined – which shouldn't be something as meaningless as "drive engagement on Facebook".

As an example of what they mean, the authors cite work undertaken for carmaker Jaguar to generate interest via social in its new XE model. "Our objective was … volume of qualified leads and we set KPIs around cost per lead vs. historical email campaigns."

A targeted Facebook ad campaign saw all ads tagged and tracked to measure volume of social referrals and so enable comparison with previous social campaigns. Highlights among the results included a 2.1 times uplift in lead volume and over 70% lower cost per lead compared with email campaigns.

While this might not involve ground-breaking measurement innovation, it does, the authors maintain, show the impact of having clear objectives and sound measurement. 

"Reporting on 70% lower cost per lead vs. X or Y engagement rate, certainly speaks more clearly to C-level executives," they said.

Data sourced from Admap