Paul M. Banas on Consumer Insights, Marketing Research, and the Digital Media Landscape
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Social Media Marketing Measurement Done Right

Lately, everyone associated with marketing or advertising is talking about creating “communities” and having “conversations” with their consumers through Social Media Marketing.

What is missing are good examples of how Social Media is being used effectively and, most importantly, how are they measuring that effectiveness to calculate ROI.

I’ve tracked down a couple of recent examples that I feel do a good job in both levering Social Media and tracking results from their efforts.

This case study of Sea World San Antonio (hat tip to Alex Nesbitt at Digital Podcast) shows how working with communities of roller coaster enthusiasts through YouTube videos and Flickr images the marketers at Sea World were able to create significant pre-launch buzz for a new water ride, Journey to Atlantis.

The best part of this example, as demonstrated in this video case study done by Shel Israel at, is how they were able to provide concrete measurement of results from the campaign through multiple sources, including use of custom surveys and online site statistics.

Through their research, they were able to clearly separate those visitors who came through their Social Media efforts, versus the rest of the people who visited the park on a daily basis.

Carnival Cruise Lines has had a track record of success in Social Media Marketing for some time now. Tameka Kee of Online Media daily shows how they built on that success through an online partnership with (a community built around scrapbooking) that allows guests from their cruises to share snapshots and video clips with friends and family in a branded environment.

As Carlos Garcia, CEO and co-founder of Scrapblog says of the initiative:

“A Carnival cruiser comes back and has pics and video that are essentially already branded. When they share it with friends and family, they’re sharing the brand. Allowing them to create a scrapbook online increases the number of people that can interact with the brand exponentially.”

Additionally, like the Sea World Example, Carnival also was able to get a better understanding of their initiative through concrete performance metrics by tracking the number of scrapblogs created by their guests, visit stats to the created scrapblogs, and registered conversions at due to scrapblog visits.

Creating effective Social Media Marketing campaigns is good first step for brands. Measuring that effectiveness on the back end is the critical next step that all brands should be taking as well.


1 Katie Paine { 07.01.08 at 10:06 am }

The problem is that the big consumer CMOs and Advertisers don’t think in terms of real tangible results, they’re still asking for Ad Value or eyeballs or some such nonsense. In the mean time, folks like SeaWorld, and our clients MADD and ASPCA are tying their efforts to web memberships and on-line donations. The difference is that the consumer package goods companies are still working in a command and control world where they think they can simply order up a million community members the same way they used to order up a million eyeballs. What they don’t realize is that most of those eyeballs they were ordering up never bought the product anyway. But the 100 or so community members will buy and recommend and promote your brand.

2 Paul M. Banas { 07.01.08 at 6:56 pm }

Thanks for your thoughts. I think everyone is still in learning mode when it comes to Social Media Marketing, since as you point out, it takes a very different mindset to achieve success than what most traditional marketers are used to having.

Would like to hear more about your best practices with MADD or ASPCA, if you’d like to share. Thanks again.

3 Tameka Kee { 07.02.08 at 9:04 am }

Glad you found the article useful, Paul.

I do think lots of companies are jumping on the online community bandwagon without having a clear plan for how to promote and sustain the hub, or even why users should join in the first place.

Carnival’s scrapblog deal made perfect sense — it was almost a no-brainer. When people come back from vacations, they’re often dying to share the pics. So by creating space where they can share those memories with others who’ve had the same experience (not to mention entice non-cruisers to think about a Carnival Fun Ship) Carnival has launched a win-win.

4 Paul M. Banas { 07.02.08 at 10:14 am }

Thanks for visiting. I think your point about jumping in without a strategy or a long term plan is a good one. Like Katie mentions above, treating an online community like a traditional media channel or billboard is counter productive.

As was clear in your article, Carnival’s goal was to facilitate a dialogue, not just to sell something. I think that is why they had the social media success they did.

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