Social Media and Web Innovation metrics: ROA Return on Attention & ROI Return on Investment

The new trends of innovation are made by passionate people that move more than in any time in history.  These new creatives, entrepreneurs whatever one calls them are citizens of the world (or of the web, or of big cities, according to tastes). They are not indeed bound by any geography, historical job classification, political or institutional affiliations or demographic. These people can be found anywhere from the frontlines of the largest organizations to the garages and rooms where entrepreneurs starts. And these people are the engine of the economy, and now as well of ideas and creativity. What makes them key players is that they are ambitious and brilliant and look for the challenges and opportunities and are not afraid of doing and go for it.

John Hagel in his article: “A Labour Day Manifesto for a New world” is asking some interesting questions that should makes all think about it:

  • Do companies actually know which 20% of all their consumers consume 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% of their services and products. And do they use that information to optimize their revenues and profits?
  • Do they connect with them to co-create new products and services? Do they get them to create ads for the company?
  • Do they engage them in an ongoing conversation?
  • As the role of consumers grows in the chain of capitalism, are companies identifying the most important ones and embracing them in a myriad of ways?

The biggest asset of human beings and of any of the industries that feeds them is definitely Trust. In the case of the web and its industries this is even more truth. So one needs to be serious and think and play for this in any industry, sales or marketing approach. The online industry in order to develop and improve its performance and results needs to put all its efforts in building online trust. Also it must focus all its efforts in managing & facilitating strong online relation with users, customers, getting the best services and creating a long term solid relation feeding the economy. Also very important the industry needs to focus its development in the online environment, pushing the best internet savvy tools and everything available in technology to serve the user, the customer and engage him.

So the best way to do it is from learning about the way the web works. And the web at the moment is made of the synergy between Search and Social Media. Search Engines and Social Media (being Social Media search engines as well) are the powerhouse part of the web. So the way to go in this landscape passes through understanding the right innovation metrics and the focus. In this gfashion some ideas to understand the way one can engage with the web and get the most out of it:

  • Know the right data, spend more and more time analyzing the data.
  • Know what impacts business, the key operations that have a big conversion rate. The times of getting huge amount of leads without any interest are starting to go and now it is about targeting specific niches and engage with them. – This are the new trends in marketing:
    • Usability of each website, make the website easy to navigate and index. Do not confuse this with design.
    • Optimize the technology, SEO, Web 2.0 features and so on. Websites need to keep having new optimizations in terms of technology and content. With the speed of the web application and the competition outhere one only survives with the best technology and updates.
    • Deep Analytics about performance going to the range of detail of each website. Not just the leads, the traffic but also more and more keyword analysis, landing pages and behavior patterns
    • Get good and optimised Content with clear business focus: both written content, videos, widgets…
    • Integrate a clear strategy that unites all sorts of Online Marketing: PPC, SEO, PR…
    • Listen: customers, competitors, analysts, blogers&hellip

Having saidf this how to go through the Synergies then of Search (traditional online marketing disciplines) and Social (Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Optimisation)? The first thing to do is to go through the right balance between all the operation and see it as a whole.  Also this needs a different approach in a way that effectively works. Let us have some thought about it:

  • Measurement, analytics and ROI are not the same. One should use analytics measurements to calculate ROI (Return on Investment) with ROA (Return on Attention).
  • Practical experience shows that sometimes ROI is a continuous effort and doesn’t come right away.
  • When getting started, it’s helpful to be able to attribute web traffic through links shared in social networks, promotion codes, specific landing pages, etc.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg for measuring ROI, there is much more work to do and it is an evolving process where persistence and technology are key.
  • Any business strategy or plan has to aim longer term. Any company needs to think about lifetime value of a customer as the key metric to understand the net results of leveraging advocates. But in the other hand one has to be prepared for mutations and shifts in trends and behaviors.

On this train of thought some practical stuff. The web is semantic and the lexicon and the message has to be clear if one wants to perform. In order to have results one have to bear in mind the different disciplines cycles offline communication, to PR online from Email Marketing, to Adwords PPC, Affiliate, to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and  of course now Social Media the new umbrella that mixes somehow all the disciplines mainly PR, communication and SEO. Bearing in mind this one needs to focus in the dna of each operation, business. What you want to achieve. And in here this is very similar to writing properly one need to have a title and a descrition. This applies as well for the web in keywords that are read by Search Engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, Baidu, and so forth.

Have a look than at the following graphic that organises the strategy between different disciplines and keyword targeting:

In PPC Analytics: The Ultimate Pay Per Click Marketing Plan

This should be the direction to go both technical and both business wise. It is the way of optimising the campaigns and the overall performance of the websites. Head strategy, business tail strategy and long tail operations applied to each disciplines respectively: SEO / NSO, PPC and Social Media.

Also the overall role of business and marketing is mutating and one should have a serious shift in behavior mixing classical lead acquisition with new strategies that mixes ROI and Return on Attention, the new innovation metric according to Business Week.

So to synthesize the role of a Marketer business needs to be linked with Social Media Marketing should go in this direction.

Some conclusions in the ROI versus ROA. The web landscape has been shifting and Attention is increasing as one of the new currencies of the web wireless world mixed with technology, users and too much data and information. So Attention is becoming more and more valuable. While any website, product, service or other activity needs to  have attention to perform, attention is becoming one of the most important metrics. So business and marketing have to ensure they get besides the classical Return on Investment as well Return on Attention. This metric that with the advent of Social Media is becoming more and more important needs to be taken as one of the key indicators of performance.

Return on Attention, ROA thus should be measured and integrated in the business and marketing cycle.

I will finish with a quote from Julien Le Nestour in the articleReturn on Attention is a key metric in a world of Attention Scarcity

ROA is a versatile tool that can be used in customer/producer relationships, from an organization or individual perspective. A couple of examples:

  • Consumer: What does it cost me in Attention to consume this product or service?
  • Producer: What is my ROA for each client? Which one is the highest? Which may be negative?
  • Marketer: How to ensure we provide the highest ROA for each client? How to provide a good ROA through our communication, thus ensuring the messages keep reaching their targets?
  • Organizations: How to maximize ROA for each employees? What can we modify to improve it or handle negative ROA situations? Are my communications and internal initiatives of a high enough ROA so that my employees will engage meaningfully with them?
  • Individual: What are the activities that reward me the most for the time and effort spent? Are they aligned with the priorities of my organization?

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