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Brant Emery

Interesting blog post - and very timely, I work on a new start-up social app (2collab) but as an extension of a large multinational publishing house (Elsevier) the need to measure our success and contribution is paramount and a process we're going through now.
But metrics are only a form of measurement - you still need to be clear on your goals and objectives, and then decide on a select few metrics that best support these (you shouldn't try to measure everything - this is senseless). A clear business strategy with clear USP, positioning, goals and milestones is still core, as are all the other business priorities that often get forgotten - An example being Hans' post and link to a whitepaper, which didn't download due an on-site error - yet no where on his site could I find a contact address to inform them of this broken feature. The key thing is remember that when you're measuring the effectiveness of an approach - don't place too much emphasis on a novel trend so that you end up misplacing the other essentials of business best practice (customer care, user focussed design, etc).

Brant Emery
development manager, 2collab

Niraj Ranjan Rout

Hi Rachel,
Thanks for this. It really puts a lot of my thoughts into perspective. Saved me a lot of thinking really :)

We build social applications (, and I am going to use this in our brain-storming sessions with a lot of our clients, who are all concerned with "quantifiability".


Ajit Jaokar

Hi Rachel
This is very interesting. I am doing some work in this space and a lot of thinking. Here are a couple of links from my blog and

I am travelling but will come back to this blog and any comments on my blogs also welcome. Many thanks and lets keep in touch kind rgds Ajit

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Nelson A. Yuen

Hey Rachel,

Is this a metric for social media or just an outline on factors we need to measure to develop a metric?

ALSO - all though all of us understand how daunting of a task it is to measure the "intangibles" to social media, I believe that fundamentally we can identify the economics to Web 2.0. (There's a whole conference on the west coast dedicated to the economics of social media. Overall if we cannot come up with a good rubric then the analytics should be WORTHLESS and social media is just an outlet of interaction and engagement - Web 2.0 with no tangible and viable information regarding social interaction from a consumer psychological standpoint. As analysts and consultants we would be little more than social studies students. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there HAS TO BE a viable way to measure the analytics and information on a psychological and economic level. Like why is 70% of the most active individuals on social media platforms single - what demographic constitutes high end consumers - why are all the women hot and all the men have pot bellies (excluding me. LMAO NO I SWEAR THE PICTURES ARE REALLY ME!!! JOKE GET IT?) There has to be a correlation between user CONTENT and user ENGAGEMENT - hits per page correlating to most linked - time spent on page relating to the amount of comments/feedback SIMPLE stuff...

Peter Cunningham

Interesting list.

At a social network it is a mix of database and webanalytics stats.

The main ones are:
- New members per day/country/campaign
- Percentage profile complete
- No of logins and most recent login
- No of friends invited
- % of accepted friend invitations
- No of internal friend requests (also look out for spammers here)
- % of accepted internal friend requests
- No of posts
- No of groups joined
- No of groups created
- No of flagged posts or spam complaints
- CRM email open and click through rates
- Webanalytic stats - time of day, geography, browser used, referring site, referring keyword, entry page and exit page

Rachel Happe

Thanks for all the additional contributions to this list - in particular I like your additions Paul.

I would also add that it is useful to track the percentage of:
- Passive activity (pageviews)
- Reactive activity (non-authenticated rating, re-posting, etc.)
- Contributory activity (account sign-up, commenting, tagging, inviting friends)
- Proactive content creation (original UGC posting, group creation, content moderation)

Moving people up the activity curve is important if you want to build community - depending on where you are in your deployment/maturity the ratio between different activities should be different.

Jeff Paul Internet Business

I think you have identified a important issue: at one level social interactions are impossible to quantify.

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