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Charlie Baillie Group Commercial Head RadiumOne

How can retailers best measure user activity through social media?

Social networks offer something retailers dreamt of in the analogue past: data. Gone are the days of expensive and inaccurate studies to measure the effect of your marketing efforts. Now across the dashboard of every social platform, retailers can see what users click on, what they share with their friends, family and colleagues, where they’ve been referred from and where they clicked next.

This enables retailers to understand their audience better and focus on reaching them in a relevant way, at scale. Crucially retailers are striving to reach shoppers across whatever channel they prefer whether that’s online or in-store (with the prevalence of free WiFi and mobile users’ Bluetooth).

 

If you’re using several social media networks to reach your audience, there are a number of tools such as Hootsuite, TweetReach, Iconosquare and URL shortener Po.st  which can help you streamline your social media management and measurement.

Typically social media management dashboards enable you to schedule posts to almost any social media site. And while you can now buy products directly from Facebook, targeting specific demographics and interests, social commerce is still in its relative infancy for driving sales but has huge potential. Currently social networks are an important factor in influencing and discovering new products to purchase through communities on Pinterest and Wanelo.

 

However, while social media is incredibly powerful for brands, the reality is that around only 20% of internet-based social interactions take place on social media networks. From our research, the other 80% comes from emails, messaging services, forums and other digital platforms. 

We call this ‘Dark Social’ because it’s typically untraceable, leaving marketers in the dark. Brands need to address dark social if they are to have an accurate view of their connected audience everywhere across multiple channels and maximise their chances of conversion. So how can retailers uncover and action this vast quantity of dark social data? 

 

Smarter tracking of content and how it is shared across all platforms is required from the outset and there are free tools around to enable this.

We offer one of these free tools, a sharing platform known as Po.st that enables brands to light up dark social. The tool creates shortened links for sharing which, when clicked upon, generate data enabling retailers to understand where their audience is, what device they’re using, who they’re sharing the link with, and where they've clicked from. Given we found that over 72% of all shares come from copy and paste activity, much of which is the sharing of URLs, using shortened links to understand your audience is an easy way to capture data you may otherwise miss. 

For example, a major high street retailer used Po.st across all of their product pages on their website. By targeting ads to consumers who had engaged with content, consumers were 3x more likely to become a customer.  Furthermore, the retailer was able to grow basket size by 80% when they tapped into ‘Word of Mouth’.

So instead of just measuring social activity across established networks, retailers need to understand their audiences across the entire web. And by combining the Po.st metrics with the reports created by social media monitoring tools, retailers can learn about their audience’s entire social interaction on any device at any time, not just the 20% that takes place on social media networks.

RadiumOne’s Top Social Tracking Tools

  1. Po.st & re.Po.st -These will shorten your links for use across social media and the wider web and you’ll be able to see digital interaction wherever it happens. They can also be combined with the RadiumOne SDK to segment audiences for display advertising campaigns
  2. Hootsuite – the best known do-it-all suite with great scheduling a reporting features (free and paid for)
  3. TweetReach – A must-use for Twitter. TweetReach tells you who’s talking about your content, how many people saw it, and who those people are.