The explosion of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and video sharing sites such as YouTube has fundamentally changed the complex relationships between brands and consumers.
Statistics clearly demonstrate that digital media has grown rapidly over the years:-
- In the UK we spent 119 billion minutes on the Internet in February 2009
- 10 million people visited Twitter in February 2009 (worldwide)
- 15 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 98% of organisations in the UK are online
- The vast majority (77%) of UK consumers believe that technology has made their lives easier
Whilst the latest digital technology offers increasing opportunities for us to engage with our consumers, it also brings with it certain challenges; – it seems the digital world has developed faster than the tools needed to measure it. Despite an intense industry wide effort to find ways to measure digital media, no set of standard metrics has been agreed on.
The problem with this is that you can’t manage something if you don’t measure it! Measurement techniques are also important when it comes to justifying spend and proving ROI.
Many of the ‘traditional’ metrics such as search engine rankings and website traffic- click through rate, number of visits, unique visitors, page views and dwell time may well measure exposure, however they do not help us understand how we are actually impacting & engaging digital consumers.
The ability to engage users influences the products they purchase, the websites they use, and the decisions they make regarding what they will use in future and what they will recommend to others. Engagement is clearly an important component of user experience, but like other components, it is somewhat intangible, and thus difficult to measure and evaluate. Take Facebook for example, the number of ‘friends’ a user has says nothing about the level of engagement of those friends with the user.
The use of quantitative methods also does not allow us to measure other important intangibles such as word of mouth, interaction, influence and commitment.
Digital media has enjoyed tremendous growth and will continue to do so in the future. However new measurement tools and techniques must be employed in order for us to fully exploit it.