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Getting Social to Measure User Engagement

As such, marketers have a lot to keep tabs on and may need to consider new means of determining value, reaching designated target audiences, and generating return on investment. Social media has come a long way from letting people know how users were doing in 140 characters or less or acting as an elaborated message board. Now, understanding how content is changing and figuring out where corresponding opportunity lies is an important part of the game.

Taking a Closer Look at Snapchat

Snapchat is a social media brand that came along a bit later, and so represented an initial rethink of the design and content composition. All Things Insights’ Seth Adler caught up with Aarti Bhaskaran, Global Head of Ad Research & Insights, Snap Inc., earlier this year in “Attention Metrics: User Engagement,” to get some insight on the platform’s content creation and priorities. Bhaskaran made the point that Snapchat opens with a camera, establishing its point of differentiation immediately versus newsfeed-centered social media, and so makes a point of its unique presentation both to users and potential partners, focused as it is on small and personal user networks.

To reach other content, users can go to the Discover tab to find Snapchat’s user generated and premium content. Users can then select content based on their preferences, and thus provide quality content focused on a more curated experience.

Snapchat built its app around the idea of connection: A user opens and takes a snap, then sends it to a close network of family and friends. In that way, Snapchat wasn’t designed to facilitate building huge followings but to reinforce personal bonds. Then, the Discover tab comes into play with user and partner generated content and contributions from Snapchat itself.

In its specific development, Snapchat took a step forward by becoming an early adopter of augmented reality applied in an entertainment function. But Snapchat soon began to examine the utility of the technology as it could be applied in step with the continually improved camera capabilities. Today, consumers can try on different shades of lipstick, earrings and shoes on the way to an ability to upload wardrobes. Snapchat avatars can dress up digital clothing from North Face, UGG and others as an-onsite basis for checking out various brands.

The amalgamation of content and AR can improve the consumer shopping experience. In fact, in a Snapchat survey about 66% of consumers who use AR in purchasing said that it’s going to help reduce their returns. The implications for retailers and vendors are significant, given the costs associated with returns.

Snapchat, in its evolution, points to how social media can develop and add content that has value both to users and, potentially, marketers. Snapchat’s popularity with Gen Z is a case in point. Bhaskaran says about 90% of Gen Z is on Snapchat. Snapchat captured Gen Z’s attention because it focuses on close connections rather than chasing likes and comments. These days, the fact that Snapchat posts drop in a short timeframe may be a significant benefit to social media users who worry about their posts returning to haunt them a decade later.

In advertising terms, Snapchat has been looking at innovation and its integration on the platform. Bhaskaran says Snapchat was one of the first platforms to introduce full-screen vertical videos because it always was a mobile app, with the launch of the desktop version a recent move. Company research suggested that the platform’s emphasis on close connections can make users more receptive to advertising by putting them into a positive state of mind. By keeping the core user proposition foremost in the design and evolution of the platform, Snapchat has focused on giving anyone signing up a sense of control, so they don’t feel immersed in a content and marketing quagmire. With regulations as to identity and personal information coming into discussion and play as regards social media, control is going to become a bigger issue and Snapchat may be regarded as having an advantage in the ability it developed in working with the user experience.

Worth Mentioning: Social Media’s Growth

The importance of generating effective content is reflected in the Future Marketing Insights report, Social Media Content Creation Market Outlook 2022-2032. In it, FMI forecasts that the social media content creation market is likely to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.5% in the 10 years from a valuation of $5.07 billion to $19.64 billion. As content creation advances, Statista reports that ad spending in the social media advertising market is projected to grow from a base of $207.10 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 4.53% to $247.30 billion by 2027.

With those gains, measurement becomes more important to generate the kind of precise, user-specific information that will allow marketers to keep track on how social media is trending and with which consumers as they look to maximize the ROI of their outreach endeavors.

In addition, a second quarter 2023 Sprout pulse survey of 255 social marketers weighed metrics in 2023 versus 2022—and gave a glimpse into their measurement preferences. In response, 63% of respondents said they review follower growth and audience size, 62% said customer satisfaction and feedback collected via social media, 62% said impressions, awareness and research of social media content, 61% said customer retention and loyalty through social media engagement, 54% said social media referral traffic and website visits. Beyond the top five, 52% of respondents said they scrutinize brand sentiment analysis and social media mentions, 51% said conversion rates for social media campaigns and ads, 51% said engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares, 51% said click-through rates on social media posts and ads and 44% said cost per click or cost per impression for social media advertising.

Clearly, as social media and social commerce grows in the marketplace, there’s no shortage of media measurement tactics for marketers to employ. With future growth prospects high, media measurement will become even more important, and complex, for advertisers, brands, and marketers as they aim to gauge consumer attention and action.

The Media Insights & Engagement Conference will be held January 23-25, 2024, in Miami, FL.


  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.

    View all posts

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