The popularity of the social media and networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. is increasing by leaps and bounds every day. As the popularity grows, the importance of these social media websites has also witnessed a steep rise. However, the efficacy or in other words, the effectiveness of these social media sites is always a subject of great debate amongst the pundits. Since, all these websites are components of a virtual world there is still some qualms when it comes to gauging their success in real terms.
Fortunately, there are some subjective as well as objective parameters to measure the efficiency of these social media networking sites. Let us discuss them one by one.
Following the Performance Metrics
Social networking involves interaction between two individuals or a set of individuals in a virtual world. Hence, you will have to take a different approach altogether when you are evaluating a series of interaction between some individuals. The quantity and the quality of the interactions carried out in a social networking site can be two able parameters when determining their usefulness.
Now, the question that quite obviously comes into the frame is how to track the Performance Metrics?
Evaluating the number of Users
This one of the basic and most straightforward way to find out how much effective a particular site is. It not worth mentioning that calculating total number of users of a particular site is a Himalayan task. With internet being a daily commodity of a vast majority of households all over the world and the total number of users expected to be several millions, the task is analogous to finding a needle from a haystack. Some of the ways to carry out this uphill task are listed below.
One of the ways of finding out the total number of visitors of a particular social media site is counting the total number of pageviews and the number of number exclusive visitors of that particular site. Once you have got the data, you need to collate them together. The resulting figure will give you the total number of visitors of that particular site.
Another very popular way of counting the number of visitors of a site is summing up the total number of fans and subscribers of that site. Each and every site has an option from where you can collect the total number of visitors or friends those who have registered in that site. All these can be collected and collated later on, in order to obtain the total number of users of that site. In this way, you can have the total number of users in each of the sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
Apart from the typical social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. there are some which are exclusively used for the purpose of sharing & bookmarking. StumbleUpon and Digg are two most renowned of them. In finding out the total number of users for these types of sites, you need to have a somewhat different approach. In these cases, you need to record the number of Diggs you have received or need to jot down the total number of times your site has been bookmarked and the frequency at which the contents of your site have been shared with others.
These are the classical ways to gather data for a particular site. Once you have all the data in your possession from each of these websites by following the respective methods, you can compare the data and come to a conclusion about which is the most popular site by simply having a look at the number of visitors.
Evaluation of the Quality of Interaction
Now, let us deal with quality of interactions. All the methods discussed so far concerned the quantity of the conversations. When it comes to evaluating the quality of the same, the approach will have to completely different altogether. Let me provide a very simple example. Suppose your Facebook page has been visited by 100 friends. If you simply go by then number of visitors, it is whopping 100! However, it is quite likely that all of those 100 will not like your page. It may so happen that the conversation you have had with any of your friends over Facebook has failed to generate any interest to lure any new user to register as your friend. Likewise, if you are in a habit of tweeting, not everyone who goes through your tweets will like them.
In this circumstance, you will be having a quite a job in your hand if you are opting to evaluate the effectiveness of a site from the qualitative point of view.
Here, you need to take into account the number of exclusive visitors of a particular site. This will provide you a notion about the number of people who are being inspired to follow the tweets or visit the Facebook on a regular basis.
Another parameter that needs to be taken into account is the time spent by a particular visitor on a specific website and the number of pages he has viewed on each visit. The longer is the time spend online and the more the number of pages he has visited the deeper the relationship is considered between two Facebook friends.
Bounce rates or in other words how frequently the visitors have quit a particular Facebook or any Twitter account is to be considered in order to measure the opposite trend. That is, the higher the bounce rate of a specific Facebook or twitter account, the less popular is that Facebook or Twitter account. They must be containing something which does not go down well amongst the visitors.
The quality of these sites can be evaluated on the basis of the number and frequency of comments posted. The more is the number of comments and higher is their frequency, the more is the popularity of that particular account.
However, when you are evaluating the quality of a Digg or a StumbleUpon account this method will not apply, the main reason being the lack of bondage amongst the users of social bookmark and share accounts. It is seen that, people who visit these bookmarking or sharing accounts do not have any specific reason behind their visits. They are not focused on any particular subject they are looking for. This leads to casual visits for very short span of time and a very high bounce rate. The number of visitors in these websites is naturally very high. However, that does not denote the true picture so far the quality of the account is concerned. It is actually the number of visitors who subsequently convert into regular customers which determines the quality of that account.
Subjective Evaluation of SMP (Social Media Performance)
The term ‘Subjective Evaluation of Social Media Performance’ literally means evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of a particular social media site with that of another. Now the million dollar question is how to do that?
As already mentioned the very existence of these social sites is pretty subjective and confined to a virtual world. Hence, quite understandably there is no golden thumb rule to gauge their effectiveness from a subjective point of view. How can you judge how good or bad is a series of conversations those have been carried out in a particular website? The very conversation that may strike your psyche can be summarily dismissed by someone else who may consider it to be an absolute naïve. You can measure the volume or the length of a particular string of conversation, but certainly not the quality.
Still, let us try to take a look into how to judge the quality of the conversation. If you have a habit of following the strings of conversations carried out by the members of the social networking sites, you see that they follow certain trends. There are some conversations which simply involves worthless issues like page 3 topics, gossips involving the celebrities. There are other types of conversations in which people will vent their anger on the management of their work places and express frustration about their friends and even bosses, deal with the personal activities of other people. These are nothing but sheer wastage of time and carry no worth.
The sets of conversation those involve discussion about share market, business opportunities and other constructive subjects carrying an able meaning to others are the ones to be considered.
If you are a regular follower of these sites, you will find numerous instances, when someone has announced that he has bought a new car or an electronic gadget. Naturally, there will be a string of comments pouring in from every quarter. Though these comments do not actually carry that weight yet, they may be helpful in the evaluation of that particular product or gadget. Hence, whether you consider these comments as valuable or not will depend upon the way they have been put forward.
Whatever is the type or subject of the conversation, the key factor that is to be taken into account while evaluation of the quality is how much interest it is able to generate amongst the visitors and the number of visitors they are able to attract.
Another thing that is to be taken into consideration is the fact that different metrics are to be used to evaluate different social networking sites. Let us now go through the parameters needed for evaluation of different social sites.
Metrics for Evaluating SMM Performance
Metrics for Social Networking Sites
Following are some of the parameters by which social networking sites can be evaluated:
The total number of friends or visitors gained through the site.
The total number of comments left by others on the status update.
The total number of discussions initiated by you and the replies you have received.
The total number of photo snaps or video clips attached by your friends.
The total number of people who have logged into your website from other social networking sites.
Metrics for Micro Blogging Sites
When you evaluate micro blogging sites like Twitter, the following parameters should be taken into account:
The total number of followers you have managed to gain.
The total number of response you receive to your daily blogs or tweets.
The total number of replies you receive to your queries.
The total number of retweets, your tweets manage to receive.
The total number of tweets that crop up around the hashtags created by you.
Metrics for Evaluating Social Bookmarking Sites
In case of social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, you can do the judgment on the following metrics:
The total number of bookmarks referred in your site/blog.
The total number of remarks or comments you have received on these bookmarks.
The total number of people who have joined your friends list from the bookmarking site.
The total amount of time spent by the visitors in your bookmarking site.
Evaluating parameters for Flickr & YouTube
Following are the parameters for the evaluation of subjective effectiveness of Flickr & YouTube:
The total number of times a particular photo or a video clip has been viewed.
The total number of comments posted on a particular photo or a video clip.
The total number of times a particular photo or a video clip has been added to the favorite tab by the viewer or in other words, the total number of viewers who have attached it to the favorite tab.
The number of positive as well negative sentiments (thumbs up or thumbs down) posted for a particular photograph or a video clip.
The rating left by the users for a particular video clip of a photograph.
Number of links of the number of total embeds of a photograph or a video clip.
Popularity of a particular photo or video on other social sites.
The total number of users who have joined your website from other sites.
The total amount of time each visitor has spent on your website.
The total number of pages of your website visited by the visitors.