Late last year South African social media agency HaveYouHeard looked into the country’s best-performing brands on Facebook. Now they have followed up with a second report using Interaction Engagement Score methodology to once more see how brands behave on the platform within a South African context. But while some brands’ Facebook presence are yielding great results, still more are looking “pretty dismal”.
Jameson Irish Whiskey came out tops with a total Interaction Engagement Score of 159%. It is followed by credit card Visa in second position (124%) while retail chain Edgars ranks third (111%).
Joint managing director, Jason Stewart, said the agency used SocialBakers as its analytical tool for the study, given this tool’s reliability and consistency, and that the 200 brands for analysis were selected based on local community size (the smallest had just over 83 000 local fans and the largest just over 997 000 local fans). The period reviewed was the first four months of 2015, (January 1 to April 30, 2015).
“While community size is never a good indicator for performance, it is a good indicator for how serious a brand is about social media as size is usually a reflection of budget spend,” he said. “The 2014 analysis investigated only 40 brands based on community size rather than the current sample size of 200. While the 2015 study is therefore not a comprehensive overview of the major changes, it does indicate some important movements.”
HaveYouHeard believes the truest way to judge a Facebook page’s performance is to examine the total number of interactions the page has. It used these figures and divided them by the number of fans per page to calculate an Interaction Engagement Score. This facilitates comparisons between brands that have different size communities.
The top 10 performing brands included Jameson, Visa and Edgars plus Mercedes-Benz SA (104%), Volvo (103%), Sony Mobile (100%), Nescafe Dolce Gusto (98%), Revlon (92%), Chivas Regal (87%) and Lekkeslaap (80%).
Page management winners when it came to page scores were Game Stores, Carling Black Label, DHL Africa, Ackermans and Lexus South Africa all scoring over 92 points while the average was just 69 points. When it came to response rate scores, versus an average of just 55%, the top five of Ponds, Absa, I Love Baking SA, iStore and Game Stores all scored over 92%.
“Page scores result from a consideration of 40 key metrics and provides a weighted score out of 100. In HaveYouHeard’s experience, a score of 85 or less suggests the page is not being managed effectively while a score of 90 or above suggests excellent management. Unfortunately, HaveYouHeard’s most recent research suggests that the majority (98% or 195 brands) of South African pages are not being given the attention they need and are not being managed to the best possible standards.
“Response rates are measured using an algorithm that tracks a brand’s response to any comment made by a fan, ending with a question mark? Sometimes a response is not necessary. However, as part of social management and etiquette a brand should always aim to have a 100% response rate,” he said.
Stewart stressed that the success of a brand is most accurately measured by engagement; that is, how many people are actually interacting with the brand. But he highlighted that this still the most misunderstood metric for social success with many brand custodians unaware of the fact that close to 98% of a brand’s community never actually sees any of its content.
“The easiest way to track engagement is to use the PTAT (People Talking About This) score, found by clicking on the stated number of fans a page has. This, however, is not a true reflection of engagement as the number is a combination of interactions as well as growth. Therefore, if a brand is spending a lot of budget on growing likes, its PTAT score may look good even if its interactions are low.
“HaveYouHeard’s preference is to look at actual Interactions. We divide total interactions by the number of fans to obtain what we call the Interaction Engagement Score, which enables a brand to compare its performance against other brands regardless of the size of their respective communities,” he said.
Here, the average score is just 31% with 40% of the 200 brands reviewed by Stewart achieving this average. “Pretty dismal,” said Stewart.
“By contrast, the top performing five brands have an average of 120%. Congratulations to Jameson Irish Whiskey, Visa, Edgars, Mercedes-Benz SA and Volvo Car SA. Their performance is truly exemplary.”
A closer look at Stewart’s analysis shows that the top-performing brands in terms of number of fans were Pick n Pay, Gumtree SA, WhatsForDinner?, OLX SA and FNB whileAutoTraderSA, Jose Cuervo, Avon, SMD Buy it. Fix it. Drive it and Jonsson Workwear excelled at growing their fan base during the period:
But Stewart cautioned using these metrics as measures of success. “While number of fans is usually the first metric displayed in any analysis, it is the least important. This is because community growth is seldom organic, most is driven through advertising or competitions. Community size is therefore predominantly an indicator of budget size and spend.
“Similarly, as with number of fans as a metric, fan growth is an indicator of budget spend, with the average cost of acquisition per fan ranging between 50c and R2. That said, it is vital that a brand’s community grows as opposed to stagnates, therefore this spend should be viewed as important.”
Stewart repeated his 2014 study because brand custodians and their communication agencies remain baffled by the metrics that govern social media.
“It’s a constant refrain,” he said. “Marketers – and I use a very broad definition here to include anyone who is involved with a brand and its relationship with consumers – do not know how to measure the true success of their efforts on social media.
“They don’t know how to compare their performance to that of competitors. Don’t know if they are improving, if they are the best or if they are falling behind.”
“The problem is that no-one has mooted, nor the industry agreed upon, a set of key metrics for success. Currently, a brand’s set of results can be interpreted in many different ways so that a perfectly good performance can reflect as mediocre, while a terrible result can be portrayed as great.”
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