Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The out-take is so often open to interpretation

I'm genuinely not feeling deliberately argumentative this afternoon but when I read articles that interpret data and don't really think beyond the obvious I do furrow my brow. So I'm going to throw in my own point of view on this one.

The headline this chart was taken from was "Loyal visitors but small share from social sites", and the conclusion being that whilst the number of visitors to a site coming from a social networking site was small they were likely to visit several times (good!), whereas search engines are still overwhelmingly driving the lions share of traffic, but not traffic that returns.

Now admittedly I've not read the whole of Chitika research piece or deconstructed the methodology, but for me whilst it's great that social network sites can help drive traffic if that's what you are trying to use them for, there appears to be a key point that hasn't been brought to the table:

Half the point of having a brand page or group on Facebook or similar is so that people can interact with your brand / experience / event  IN AN ENVIRONMENT THEY ARE IN ANYWAY. So trying to distract a consumer from what they were there to do (interact with their friends) and drag them off to your site is a bit like picking someone up by the scruff of the neck and dragging them against their will to somewhere they don't necessarily want to be.

You wouldn't like it if someone did it to you now would you??  I read something recently that said something along the lines of "a marketer wouldn't dream of interrupting a phone conversation, but they keep wanting to interrupt in social media environments".  You need to make your brand part of the conversation not irritatingly interrupt it. That's just bad manners, and yes it might get you talked about but maybe not for the right reasons.

As ever it comes down to making sure that the metrics you set for activity are the right ones, and click through isn't the only option in the digital measurement toolbox.

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