Influence, engagement and other things that are hard to measure
If you’re involved or interested in social media at all, you’ve likely caught wind of the maelstrom of outrage surrounding recent changes to the Klout algorithm. If you missed the melee, here’s a brief synopsis.
Klout is a company dedicated to measuring social media influence. They use a proprietary algorithm to calculate a score (called a Klout score, logically) then work with brands to create offers to people with influence in certain areas. There’s more to it (the whole +K pyramid scheme for example) but that’s the core of it. A few weeks ago, Klout made a change to their algorithm which resulted in a lot of people seeing lower scores, which in turn caused some rage.
Honestly, the world doesn’t need another post breaking down Kloutmageddon. It’s all kind of silly, actually, but it has sparked another good debate about how to measure influence online. For me though, the question is more fundamental than that: How do you even define influence?
I can’t define influence but I know it when I see it
One of the limitations of companies like Klout is that their measurement is pretty much limited to events and transactions that occur in the social space. Does Blogger X routinely crash servers when he tweets a link to his followers? Then he must be influential, he’s influenced them to take the action of clicking a link.
But if the clicks don’t lead to anything else, just how influential was the visit? If all Blogger X’s linking does is drive a spike in my bounce rate, what’s the point?
Who is more influential, someone who drives 10,000 visitors to my site who take no action or someone who drives 100 visitors to my site who convert in a measurable way? Even more puzzling, what if someone DOES drive 10,000 converting visitors to my site but they don’t convert on the first visit – how do I track that?
Integration is key
As much as social tools and channels provide rich opportunities for brands and organizations, most conversions and measurable events take place on their core website, if they take place online at all. Which is why the emerging field of web engagement management is so exciting. Web engagement management shifts the focus of this attempt to measure influence back to your site and, when integrated with your content management system, provides real, actionable insights.
Want to know which channels are truly influential? Track your traffic throughout multiple site visits. Watch them as visitors engage your site over time and score their ultimate conversions in a way that’s relevant to you.
Over time, you get to develop a much richer sense of not only who or what drives traffic to your site but which traffic sources lead to the highest value conversions. Define success on your own terms and suddenly influence isn’t so subjective and ethereal, it’s contextualized and relevant to your organization.
There’s an app for that
Web engagement is a growing field and, through our partnership with Sitecore, NLC is actively exploring its potential with a number of clients using the Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform. Stay tuned to this blog for more insights and updates as we put these learnings into action in a measurable way, or contact us to learn more.
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