It used to be so simple.
At first, social media was easy because the standards of traditional marketing didn’t fit. It was new and different. It was personal and customer-driven and you were just feeling it out. It was Facebook and Twitter and what was to measure? If you knew how many Duggs you got on Digg you were ahead of the game.
But now that you invest time and resources in those customer conversations, it’s time to take a good, long look at what you get out of it in the traditional sense of marketing ROI. Even if you can’t or don’t need to measure down to an actual sales or revenue-driven metric, you should look at some the standard metrics of involvement and engagement in social media — followers, friends, comments, retweets, etc.
That’s where this helpful blog post from MediaPost (courtesy of @B2BOnlineMarketing) comes in. It suggests adding a new choice to the marketer’s toolkit of measurement metric acronyms: CPSA, or Cost Per Social Action.
The main benefit of CPSA is that marketers know they’re paying for something social and relationship-oriented. More importantly, marketers know they’re not specifically paying for exposure, traffic, conversions, or interactions (though those can all provide additional value). It’s an acknowledgement that social media is something else, so it’s deserving of a new model, one that stresses relationships above all else.
I like this logic alot. In social media, engagement and interaction is the holy grail, no matter what your goal. Whether you need to plant a flag as an industry thought-leader, or build followers for a Facebook page so you can reach them for a much lower CPA than other channels, the need to measure CPSA at some level is now an expectation. And it’s different that traditional measurement, because relationships are less tangible yet potentially more valuable in the long term.
The article does post a great question that only you can answer:
What’s a social action worth anyway? The further anyone veers from reach and sales, the harder it’s going to be to tie this into marketers’ traditional metrics.
Depending on your ultimate goals for your social media involvement, the true worth is for you to determine. For some, bigger Authority on Technorati may be the most valuable thing for your blog, while for others it may be Facebook followers, Twitter retweets, overall size of your social network, or something else. Or maybe you have a different way of measuring worth already that’s more complex and gives you a sales-driven ROI.
No matter what the answer to the question is, it’s definitely important to charge ahead and embrace CPSA as a new and valid metric that we look at often.
Filed under: Blogs, Customers, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Online Marketing, ROI/Measurement, Social Media, Social Networking, Twitter Tagged: | comments, Cost Per Social Action, customer relationships, Digg, engagement, Facebook, followers, measurement, retweets, ROI, Social Media, social media conversations, Twitter