The Problem with Social Analytics

For those of you that don’t know me, my first career, and my undergraduate degree, were in engineering. One of the first things that I learned as an engineer is that it takes metrics and analytics to run a process. Over the years I’ve transitioned from engineering, to operations and now into social media. And as I’ve designed social media operations teams and structures, I’ve consistently become more annoyed with the fact that there aren’t better systems available for analytics and live tracking of tickets. It’s impossible to cleanly manage an operational team when you can’t clearly see what is going on.

There are dozens of analytics platform providers out there, but every one of them tends to miss something vital when it comes to reporting. For example, our current provider can’t link Message data with Case data. Since all posts and case management is done through the tool, this seems like a huge miss. In my previous manufacturing role for Owens Corning I managed the implementation of ApenTech for our plant. This system allowed me to see every single thermocouple temperature, chemistry mixture, machine speed or quality test for the entire plant. It had a beautiful layout with clickable drill down points that allowed me to either get a high level view of how everything was going, or look closely at an individual section of the plant. My question has been, why can’t we do this for social? There are metrics in over-abundance for social media. Why can’t we get this organized in a way that allows operational teams to quickly get a pulse on what is happening with their support groups? Every time a platform demonstrates their analytics package to me, I end up seeing this incredibly pretty but altogether useless bubble chart. And if it’s not a bubble chart it’s something else equally useless for operational management. How do I justify more headcount, or a change in operations based on the chat below. What does that even tell me?
Useless Social AnalyticsSo here’s my conundrum: If you’re building out an operational platform that has hundreds of analytic points available, why wouldn’t you use them? If someone could create a live process map to display and track social operations like the one below, enterprise level companies would literally throw money at them. Each node would allow you to click in and get more detail as to what is happening. You’d have filters to set your time constraints, or filter by team. And most importantly, you’d be able to see the whole life cycle of social support in a single view. My only real question is, why hasn’t someone done this yet?

Create a social analytics process map.

Social Media Support ROI: Action Based Metrics

Before you attempt to build your Social Media Support Value Model, we need to talk about the two classifications of social metrics. This is a fundamental concept to understand, because it dictates when and how you need to pull your reporting. Your analytics can be broken down into two unique classifications based on how the results are captured. These two classifications are Post-Based Metrics and Action-Based Metrics. In general, your reporting tool drives whether your metrics are action or post based, and you need to ask your software provide with methodology they are using.

This classification refers to metrics based on actions taken by the user within a pre-defined window. The most significant differentiation from Post based metrics is that your results are not impacted by when actions were taken by the company. When pulling results for the month of January, you would see actions taken on your posts based on what customers did within that month. This means that if a post from December continued to trend into January, you would see metrics related to that post.

The benefit of Action Based metrics, from an operational perspective, is that the metric generation is confined. Once your time period has closed, your analytics are locked in place.

Synopsis: Metric reporting based on when an action is taken by a customer. These metrics lock-in at the end of the month, and once the reporting window has closed, will not change.

Platform Example: Adobe Analytics

 

Post Based Metrics | Tracking Link Clicks