Friday, March 27, 2009

Upcoming Challenges in Campaign Analysis

I was in a good discussion the other day about how to define the end date of a campaign that had social media elements. It's an interesting challenge as social media campaigns can have many effects that keep going for a significant length of time. If, in your analysis, you need to define an end date, it can be tricky.

Looking at campaigns that involve elements of social media, there are a few phases that can affect a campaign:

Initial Launch - the preliminary efforts to get the marketing effort noticed and known in the social media scene. This will drive a number of the initial responses, although the timeframe is usually contained.

Viral Forwarding - any campaign with a successful element of social media contains content that is found interesting enough to be passed on and discussed online in forums such as Twitter. This can be the most significant element of the response in some successful campaigns. It is often contained in time though, so it does not cause as many analysis challenges as the next few elements.

Blog Commentary - here's where it gets interesting. Blog links, articles, and comments may refer to the campaign for an extended period of time. If the content remains relevant, the blog commentary can last months if not years.

SEO Effects - extending that effect is the effect of search engine optimization. As blogs comment on the initial marketing effort, search results continue to improve. This effect of course, again lasts months if not years.

Ghosts of Google - confounding any challenges of defining when a campaign ends is the fact that the algorithms of Google and other search engines have a way of resurrecting content that may be years out of date, which, with good content, can lead to a new trickle of interest in the campaign.

Given these challenges, how does one define the end point of a campaign? Is the concept of a campaign really having a defined "end date" still meaningful in today's world? I'm interested in your thoughts on this topic.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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