How To Create Custom Sectors for Social Benchmarking

Do you sometimes feel brand categories just don’t work? Anonymous industry averages don’t cut it? A broad sector just doesn’t do justice to your benchmarking efforts?

We get it. Sometimes you need to know, down to the last detail, just how you and your competitive set fare against the slice of the industry that matters to you. With dollar spend, business objectives and strategic decisions based upon the performance of that very industry, those details really do matter.

On the Unmetric platform, you can create Custom Sectors with the brands in your industry that matter most to you to address this very challenge. Here’s how you can go about it:

Step 1. Create your Custom Sector

To get started, head over to the Settings page to the tab titled ‘Sectors’.  Here you can create, name and edit your Custom Sector. For now, let’s create a Custom Sector called ‘Luxury Auto Brands’.


Click on the link to ‘Edit’ within the tile of your new Custom Sector. This launches a pop up where you can add brands from the larger industry into your Custom Sector.




Once you’ve added all the brands you consider important to the sector, you can view them by clicking on the ‘Added’ view option on the top right hand corner.

Step 2. Activate the Custom Sector

Now we get to the important part – activating the Custom Sector. In order to do so, simply click on ‘Activate’ within the tile of your Custom Sector.


Once you’ve done that, over on the Summary >> Manage Brands page,  shift the sector of the Group with brands you wish to benchmark, to your new sector as you see below.

Here we shift the Competitor’s Group Sector to the newly created ‘Luxury Auto Brands’.



Step 3. Benchmark against the Custom Sector

We’re all done! Now when you deep dive into a brand’s analysis and click on Benchmark for any metric, you can see how the brand fares against the Custom Sector as well.


Custom Sectors don’t just help you paint a more accurate picture of your benchmarks. They enable you to compare industry brands based on factors you deem important – such as Fan/Follower size, geography or even demographic profile.

Need to add context to your sector benchmarking efforts? To find out how you can create a custom sector specific to your company or industry, click the button below and an Unmetric analyst will walk you through it.

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Overcoming the flawed paradigm of social media measurement

This originally appeared on The Next Web on 21st July, 2014.

Garbage in, garbage out: a pithy phrase that captures the notion that flawed or incomplete data inputs invariably lead to flawed conclusions. In the social media world, this truth has never been more important as 1) brands look to turn ones and zeros into actionable insights; 2) ‘big data’ loses its cachet; and 3) ‘smart data’ comes to the fore.

If you want to stir up a lively debate among today’s social media gurus, simply broach the topic of reach and engagement. Is Facebook engagement for brands up or down since the social networking behemoth tweaked its News Feed algorithm? It all depends on whom you ask.

The statistics used to bolster either viewpoint depend on multiple moving variables. What brands were analyzed? How many brands were analyzed and over what time period? It’s quite easy to follow the numbers to faulty conclusions without examining things a bit closer.

In order to bring a potentially fuzzy picture of social engagement into sharper focus–regardless of whether the data shows it heading north or south–brands must first consider (and answer) two critical questions:

  1. How exactly do we define ‘engagement?’
  2. Are all social media metrics created equal?

Is it really engagement?

In the wake of Facebook tinkering with the amount of brand content that shows up in news feeds, it’s tempting but inaccurate to use the terms ‘reach,’ ‘interactions,’ and ‘engagement’ interchangeably when analyzing the outcome. Claiming engagement is up or down and then using reach and interactions to prove the case is comparing apples to oranges.

While certainly interrelated in several ways, reach refers only to views and potential views. According to Facebook’s definitions, engagement is more synonymous with interactions i.e., any type of click on a post. However, a further and important distinction can even be made between interactions and engagement.

It’s easy to infer from surface data that engagement is up (or down) for any social network if we simply lump all interactions together (including vanity metrics such as clicks, fans, followers, and likes) and call it ‘engagement.’ But even if we count all interactions as engagement, it’s still easy to arrive at misleading conclusions if we fail to examine the correlation between the percentage of interactions and rising number of fans or followers.

For instance, if a brand with 80 million fans gets 4 million interactions in January (5 percent), then in June when they have 85 million fans and get 4.25 million interactions (still 5 percent, but a gross increase of 250,000), did engagement really increase in a meaningful way?

The value of different metrics

One billion: this is the reported number surpassed for World Cup-related Facebook interactions (including posts, comments and likes) between June 12 and June 29. Wrapping everything up in a single, albeit large, number like this works if we just want to get a quick snapshot of total social activity produced by everybody around a large and trending event.

However, brands that want to get serious about measuring performance must go beyond raw numbers and look at the different metrics for what they represent in the larger engagement picture.

When it comes to measuring engagement, the status quo for many is the above approach used to quantify World Cup interactions. Regardless of the formula one uses to measure engagement, we must start with the fundamental premise that not all metrics hold the same inherent value.

Treating all metrics equally can generate quick conclusions, but those conclusions can be misleading for a brand looking to benchmark their content’s engagement against their own previous content, or that of their competitors.

Standalone vanity metrics such as clicks, fans, followers and likes aren’t nearly as valuable as comments, shares or retweets–interactions that can be more accurately defined as meaningful engagement.

The fact that content was potentially viewed by a lot of people is a good start, but can’t be the sole arbiter of engagement. Metrics must be weighted differently in relation to each other in order to come up with a more accurate way to measure and benchmark engagement.

The methodology and weights that brands assign to different metrics can and should vary depending on individual priorities and objectives. For example, a brand that poses a question to its fan base might want to assign a higher weight to comments than shares if measuring qualitative feedback is the goal.

Another brand running a social media contest might care more about driving reach and maximizing total exposure, so might weigh shares over comments.

These weights can be changed according to the content, campaign or channel. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all secret formula, it’s important for social media managers at brands and agencies to have access to a platform that allows them to customize the weights and values of different engagement metrics.

Parting thoughts

Beyond the issue of how one measures engagement, brands ultimately need to focus on another core truth. Good content garners good engagement. You can spin the numbers all day long, point to the algorithms of Facebook and Twitter, but in the end, brands must be dedicated to creating compelling content that informs, entertains and provokes action. Data and measurement are simply one part of a virtuous cycle.

Insights from smart data and proper measurement informs and helps brands plan better content, and subsequently, each newly minted piece of content generates new data. That said, flawed or incomplete measurement can certainly mix up the cycle.

So, how do you measure engagement?

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Analyst Debrief – Altimeter, Forrester and Nielsen know your consumer

You know who your target audience is, but do you really know how to reach them effectively? This week we found three reports from analyst groups that are signposts to your consumers and pave the way to understanding their journey better.

Nielsen shows how to Reach the Few, the Proud

Gauging a campaign’s online reach was previously a tedious task. Now, with the advancement of tools, there is no media that is as measurable as digital.

Using a case study of how the US Marine Corps reached its desired audience, a new blog post from Nielsen shows how to evaluate the reach of a demographically targeted campaign. Read the post here.

Forrester says the Consumers you want to reach are on Mobile

Many a time we assume optimizing content for mobile just means adjusting to the screen of the smart phone. Forrester’s researchers Thomas Husson and Roxana Strohmenger found that marketers have a lot of upside if they up their game and think beyond just screen optimization.

They found that people spend more time socializing on their smartphones as compared to their PC and are more likely to create, appreciate and share brand content from their mobile devices. The report further goes on to say that personalized story telling is here to stay.

Altimeter highlights the importance of mapping the customer’s journey

Altimeter’s latest report examines the state of digital transformation and employs the results of a survey to better elucidate business’ digitization process and challenges. While the comprehensive report covers a wide variety of topics, its core emphasizes the importance of mapping a customer’s digital journey.

Identifying the right touch points in the consumer’s digital experience lifecycle will help in developing a deeper understanding of the consumer and even aid product innovation. The survey gives a broad overview of how the industry is adjusting to the digital metamorphosis and prepares the reader to embrace the change better.

In this weekly series, we do a roundup of reports most relevant to today’s digital marketer and modern communicator from analyst groups like Altimeter, Bain, Gartner, McKinsey, Nielsen and others, and showcase the ones. If you’d like to read more such reports, you can keep track of our complete Analyst Debrief series. We’d also love to chat, leave a comment below or drop us a line on Twitter @unmetric.

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