ImageBefore Christmas we were having a flick through the Marketing Magazine website, as you do. The ‘Who won the Christmas TV ad battle? The definitive social media analysis’ piece caught our attention; we do love ourselves a bit of definitive social media analysis in the DI office.

So we were a bit disappointed when the definitive analysis really turned out to be buzz monitoring.  Maybe that was the point but like I said we do love a bit of definitive social media analysis in the DI office. Buzz monitoring is great for a snap shot of the situation however there is much more depth and potential in social media analysis, which like I said we do love at DI. So, here we are.

While the run down of the statistics, share of voice and follower conversions was good to know the ‘definitive analysis’ sums up everything we see wrong with today’s push on social media analytics. 

It’s not that we don’t like delving into Marketing Magazine, we do. It’s more about the positioning of social media’s definitive analysis and this is a widespread issue.

Going back to the Christmas ads battle, there is a comment asking why Marks and Spencer had so many more followers as a result of their Christmas campaign than John Lewis.  John Lewis had the highest percent of the share of voice – why didn’t they also win the follower battle? 

With this small question you begin to see the holes in the analysis.  The context and behavioural analysis are missing. 

We have the buzz [voice] but we don’t know what was actually said.  We then have fan and follower counts, there is an assumption that the Christmas adverts that drove the rise in these counts.  However when we explore why Marks and Spencer was the hands down winner in increasing fans and followers we find that in addition to their advert they also had several competitions running.

The competitions, as told by Julia Monro, Head of Social Media for Marks and Spencer, was planned engagement in addition to the advertising campaign, to keep the conversation flowing throughout the Christmas period.  If this was the case, we need to look again at the advert analytics and consider the impact of the wider integrated marketing strategy for the period.

We won’t go into exploring if the same people were commenting on all the Christmas adverts and the motivational draw to friending and posting (that is for another post).

We agree that buzz and follower counts do imply the success of the adverts.  The stimulus of the advert has created an intentional emotional reaction and the output is x number of mentions and x number of new fans and followers.  However, this is not where social media analysis begins and ends.

If we only ever look at the analytics then we only ever see numerical metrics.  We advocate a deeper analysis, one that looks at the context and behaviours surrounding the buzz and increased counts.  From this we get richer feedback.  Yes, large numbers will be well heard in the boardroom but what happens when deeper questions are asked?

Macro views only go so far.  As the uses of social media mature in the business marketplace more questions will be asked.  Social media intelligence can provide the deeper insights, context and behaviours. 

We do love definitive social media analysis but this only happens when the right questions are asked, when context and behaviour is explored and when the overall integrated picture is taken into account. 

Don’t be fooled by the big numbers, ask the questions that matter.  We think 2014 will be the year of tough questions in social media. 

The aim for marketers and business decision-makers is to preempt these questions. 

This is where social media intelligence helps. 

Smart brands and organisations will look beyond buzz metrics and analytics, don’t get left behind.