The amount of user data that brands collect can be overwhelming and not always useful. Social listening tools can help to give meaning to these insights.

A group of employees analysing data from graphs

The direct marketing metrics age has witnessed a seemingly countless number of brands embark upon increasingly innovative campaigns in a bid to capture the imagination of the British public. It’s a consumer marketplace that changes its behaviour and preferences almost as rapidly as the disconcertingly unstable social media landscape in which brands must now operate.
 
As these brands compete for eyeballs not only on TV screens, but on illuminated black mirrors of varying sizes, it’s difficult for marketers to understand what success looks like in an era of direct marketing, transformation and uncertainty.
 
For those working for – or with – direct marketing agencies in the direct marketing space, there is a growing collective feeling that every single campaign undertaken is an unprecedented success, with each new endeavour more successful than the last. 
Measurement fans should look at metrics that concern exposure and engagement. With rising numbers of socially empowered users, cross-channel promotional campaigns and a variety of other buzzwords, the wealth of metrics available to marketers has become a mission in mathematics itself. 

Return on objectives

When every campaign can record a thousand different likes, impressions and shares in a million different ways, how can CMOs and other budget holders disambiguate the good from the not so good? What must marketers do to identify the genuine gems in a sea of cleverly masked mediocrity? 
 
As with any traditional marketing exercise, establishing the objectives behind a campaign tends to be the best place to start. About to spend seven figures on plastering the image of a smiling celebrity on billboards around the country? It’s probably a good idea to begin with thinking about why you’re doing that, and what success might look like. 
Let’s examine two potential objectives that marketers might have for their campaigns. 
First, a brand may be seeking to improve the reputation of its products, perhaps aimed at positioning them as luxury goods. This brand might choose to launch a new series of TV adverts, coupled with some online messaging on Instagram and Twitter. By examining the conversation about the brand’s product online in the period before, during and after this campaign, it will be easy to understand the impact that the initiative has had. 
Using a listening tool and a keyword list for terms associated with “luxury”, then segmenting the conversation accordingly, has the product range grown more closely associated with these terms as a result? And has the inverse been true of opposing topics? 
Second, a brand might wish to simply increase visibility among 16-24 year-old males. So rather than reporting upon numbers of page likes or email opens, measurement fans should look at metrics that concern relevant exposure and true engagement. This might begin with tallying raw numbers of mentions around the brand, with careful comparison with periods prior to the campaign. 
Coupled with web traffic data, these raw metrics can prove to be a useful indicator of reach. Analysis of who spoke about the brand can be more revealing, however. Demographic and psychographic analysis provided by social listening tools will tell you more about whether you reached the right people. Tracking which publishers covered your campaign will also help you attribute success from a PR and audience perspective.

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