Metrics: What is the impact of social media on organizations?

4/2/2008 | Christian Kreutz

Getting social media or web2.0 into an organization is still not an easy task. The skepticism is often as high as the enthusiasm. If you can prove the benefit of social media in an organization, then you have better cards to go forward. I have been experimenting for a while with blogs and wikis in an organizational context, therefore I thought of possible metrics.

Thanks to Rachel Happe, I have now a little, albeit comprehensive, list of metrics to measure the impact of social media. The following list is an excellent start for the evaluation of the impact or return of investment of social media:

Activity Metrics

  • Page-views
  • Unique visitors
  • Members
  • Posts (ideas/threads)
  • Number of groups (networks/forums)
  • Comments & Track-backs
  • Tags/Ratings/Rankings
  • Time spent on site
  • Contributors
  • Active contributors
  • Word count
  • Referrals
  • Completed profiles
  • Connections (between members)
  • Ratios: Member to contributor; Posts to comments; Completed profiles to posts
  • Periods: By day, week, month, year
  • Frequency: of visits, posts, comments

Survey Metrics

  • Satisfaction
  • Affinity
  • Quality and speed of issue resolution
  • Referral likelihood
  • Relevance of content, connections

I imagine that with all or some of this statistics, it is (1) much clearer to see whether users engage thoroughly in social media, (2) get a picture of the specific culture of communication and sharing, (3) whether this interaction has a benefit and is an alternative to conventional communication, and (4) it brings something new in the sense of synergies and innovation. Thus a next step would be to compare old ways of communication with the gains of new ones.

If you analyze this activities within the organizational contexts, you can easily extend them to the rest of the web. Pete Shelton makes some helpful suggestions of how to Measure the impact on the web or here is one for blogging.

  • Page views/visitors
  • Downloads
  • Citations
  • Mentions in the media/blogs
  • RSS feeds
  • Search engine rankings