Complex Made Simple

6 Middle East marketing experts share their top success metric

In this age of digital marketing, advertisers need to realize that there's more to data analytics than mere engagement rates and other traditional metrics.

Around 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook. and this is not showing any signs of slowing down,” says Heba Sayed, Marketing Manager at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, Middle East, Africa & Turkey "Daily active users” is the key metric of success as it allows marketers to hone in on the users who engage with the brand on a level that truly matters Industry experts emphasize the need for marketers to focus on metrics that effectively showcase the quality and not quantity of engagement with their brand

Marketers today must work harder than ever to prove the value of their efforts across all channels. With demands from leadership for concrete data to back up marketing spends, you can be hard-pressed to find the right metrics to use as a success benchmark and prove ROI. 

I spoke to some industry experts in our region to find out what metrics they prioritize when it comes to measuring success and why.

1. Video analytics 

Video marketing has exploded and is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future, pushing marketers to step up their game and vie for audience’s attention to increase their engagement and conversion rates. “On average, 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube. Around 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook. and this is not showing any signs of slowing down,” says Heba Sayed, Marketing Manager at IBM Watson Customer Engagement, Middle East, Africa & Turkey. 

This can prove very difficult to track and can be highly inaccurate if you don’t arm yourselves with tools that provide you with full visibility of your brand across text, image, and video. Sayed believes that marketers should be aware of key video mentions of their brand that are made by anyone – not just those coming directly from their brands’ channels, “AI-driven video recognition is now revolutionizing social media analytics for brands,” she adds. In fact, newly-released video recognition technology can detect brand logos in videos online, gathering 300% more results than traditional media monitoring. 

2. Daily active users 

In our digital age where social users are inundated with different brands right and left, we should be focused on measuring the success of a campaign by determining if it stands out in a sea of noise and truly resonates. Klime Mickovski, Acting Head of Product/Head of Data & Insights, Digital at Sky News Arabia believes that using “daily active users” is the key metric of success as it allows marketers to hone in on the users who engage with the brand on a level that truly matters – a consistently engaged one. “The number of daily active users is a metric that measures the actual brand loyalists who spread your brand awareness and reach, and at the same time also directly impact the digital revenue you generate as they consume most of your monetisable inventory. If brands prioritize the number of daily active users as their growth metric, they will be able to expand both their audience and revenue,” Mickovski asserts.

3. Fluctuation

While vanity metrics add no value in isolation, they can provide insights when considered across a period of time. “The number one metric we should be looking at is fluctuation.  All the current metrics such as Reach, Impressions, Hits, Interactions, Engagement, SOV, etc are just numbers unless we are looking at the fluctuations in them versus our competition or our own previous history,” adds Jamal Al Mawed, Founder & Managing Director at Gambit Communications. 

Marketers who analyze fluctuation in a brand’s metrics with the purpose of gathering actionable insights – and not just monitoring for the sake of reporting – can stand to benefit greatly from the wealth of available data.

4. Content relevance 

“In order to stay afloat, marketers need to make sure the content they are producing is relevant to who they are targeting,” says Sarah Curtis, Co-founder & Director at POP Communications (United Arab Emirates).  Content creation is indeed an integral component of a marketer’s job and a pillar that has witnessed many changes in the era of digital consumption and clickbait. Creating content that simply looks good or is viral-primed to gain mass traction will not actually benefit a brand if it is not targeted directly at the segment of audience the brand is seeking to engage or convert. If your target audience is niche, why would you look to engage a mass audience?  

5. Sustainability of content 

To delve further into this key pillar of marketing, content creation, we must consider the long-term value of the content. Again, we are faced with the convenience and predominance of vanity metrics – such as, engagement rate, opportunity to see, number of shares, etc. However, Joe Lipscombe, Director of Content and Influence, Memac Ogilvy, invites marketers to have a more strategic outlook when approaching content and to reconsider the value of ephemeral quick wins versus sustainable content that can continue to add business value over extended periods of time. 

“Content marketers need to move away from looking at content as a direct route to engagement.  Engaging content is not synonymous to high-performing or quality content. As content creators, we need to recognise just how important it is for us to shift our strategies away from instantaneously gratifying content, and towards sustainable content that focuses on bottomline business value,” Lipscombe avers.

6. Average duration of engagement 

Finally, to complete a comprehensive overview of key metrics that covers the various channels currently at a marketer’s disposal, we must consider podcasts, an increasingly compelling medium for today’s audience. Podcasts have a myriad of benefits starting from how quickly they can be turned around, to how easy they are to consume, their ability to truly reflect a brand’s personality, and – very importantly – how mobile-friendly they are. 

Cheryl King, Managing Director at Markettiers, a leading broadcast specialist creative agency, warns marketers about using the number of downloads as a key metric. “When it comes to podcasts, we’d typically monitor for the average duration that people listen to as well as how many people have downloaded the podcast. It may well be that the podcast is centred on a very niche subject, so therefore the number of downloads may be lower, but every single person tuning in to that podcast will be relevant,” she says.

Once again, industry experts emphasize the need for marketers to focus on metrics that effectively showcase the quality and not quantity of engagement with their brand.

These soundbites are extracted from Talkwalker’s Social Media Strategy eBook, which can be downloaded for free here