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  • Writer's pictureDan Bowsher | Sett Social

Data Sett: What I talk about when I talk about social measurement

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Maybe, but I've heard engagement rates are declining

Each time I see a new report on the state of social media engagement I click on the link, forgetting that they always make me feel like an opportunity has been missed. I've seen another one just this week.

They usually cover the performance of multiple, often competing brands and seek to provide some form of benchmark for performance. But, in my experience, they fall short of being genuinely meaningful and illustrate the point that just because something CAN be measured, it doesn't tell the full story.

The issue? The majority of tools on the market are limited to tracking publicly available information but in the current landscape there's a paucity of data available help you see how effective other brands' overall social media marketing efforts truly are .

They can certainly help to give you a clearer view of SOME elements of competitors' social media activity. Using them can inspire your brand's future activity and lets you learn from the successes and mistakes of others. Just don't think for a minute they give you all that you need to understand the full picture.

They can't necessarily track paid activity, for example. Or private messaging, which is a massive source of today's engagement. Neither can they breakdown a walled garden - here's looking at you, Snapchat! Critically, the data gleaned from these tools can't tell you the thought process of objectives behind the activity. For that, as always, you need to make an educated guess.

And that's what I think we need to focus on more when it comes to making decisions about social media marketing. Rather than looking at a fraction of our competitors activity, we should be spending more time on nailing the entirety of our own activity, understanding what the data at our fingertips can tell us about where we have strengths and weaknesses based on our own requirements.

Once you've established your own benchmarks, then you'll know whether or not your engagement is declining and whether that matters to your business. And at that point, you might want to seek inspiration by looking at competitor activity or market research through social listening.

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