Editor & Publisher just came out with a report that highlights the complexity of measuring social media. It’s not just about number of page hits anymore. Advertisers are also starting to look at length of time spent on the site is good . . . so are repeat visits. The “length” measurement is a bit ironic, given the web often demands bite-size content which doesn’t encourage lingering (maybe it’s about LOTS of bites).
What matters most? No answers yet. Personally, I think it depends on the goals of the program, the type of content (for example videos tend to keep people on a site longer) and the nature of the audience.
Social media-based marketing programs tend to be resource intensive. For example, it’s not enough to just read content. Participation is the name of the game. Reading, creating, posting and commenting requires a lot of cycles. These cycles either translate to additional employees or added hours by the agency team (read: more expensive). With social media still so new, trendy seems to be trumping traditional when it comes to justifying social media programs. Eventually the question of ROI will need to be answered. The race is on to find a measurement standard.