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Measure Advocacy and the Business Impact


We’re living in a time when marketing is really interesting as new digital channel such as Social Media emerged as one of the key marketing channels.

It allows marketers to better promote their brands and reach their audience.  That said, it is imperative to measure advocacy as companies build rapport with their consumers.

As we know, the benefit of increasing advocates for your brand, product, or service is great because the return is high. The cost of building such program could be high, but companies could definitely benefit from it in a long term.

From web analytics perspective, I’d like to share some ideas on how we can leverage the common analytics tools we have to try and measure the advocacy programs.

Important points to think about when measuring advocacy program.

  • Do you have a measuring point on the website where people indicate that they are advocating for your company?
  • Do you have an analytics tool that measures the first point, and does that tool have a way to track the traffic coming back due to that share or advocate?
  • In most cases, web analytics tool may not identify the person, but you may have a CRM database with information pertaining to an individual; so do you have that and can it be enhanced to capture extra attributes or flag the individual that he/she is an advocate
  • Are web analytics and the CRM database integrated? It’ll be important to know if your marketing acquisition converted prospects into a customer, but we need to know if that customer from that marketing acquisition channel has driven and turned that customer into an advocate.

If we think about measuring advocacy, it is pretty much impossible to capture every element of the advocates and what they advocated.

So we really need to think about what is measurable based on what you have on hand in terms of analytics.

Good examples we can use from standard analytics application are:

  • Clicks on share buttons including, but not limited to Facebook like/share, twitter, Reddit, delicious, stumble upon, etc. These aren’t really a true advocate metrics, but it captures the intent of people attempting to advocate about the content
  • If you’ve implemented third party share solutions like, it has features to track click backs from that one share from users.
  • Social Media analytics. Tools like Sysomos and many other tools allow tracking mentions across different social network sites ranging from Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, etc. Tracking amount of mentions, the amount of lift in mentions or retweets are a great way to see how much your advocacy programs are contributing to such lifts.
  • Do you have CRM database that holds information about your users? Perhaps linking that profile data with web analytics data allows you to track that core advocate who registered for email, responded to an email, clicks on Facebook like, and added a nice comment on your site (or tweeted). These types of information allow to extend your advocacy program to re-marketing efforts and better communicate with your end users.
  • There are tools that track Social Media mentions and its sentiments, to understand rather people are talking positively/negatively about your company. At the end of the day, it’ll be nice to know that people aren’t advocating bad things about your service/product/company.

The business impact will need to be measured as well.

The first thing that comes to mind is a cost per acquisition of “advocates” if you were able to identify the number of advocates your program generated.

Was the cost below the plan?

If not, then let’s try looking at a conversion rate of advocates vs. non-advocates. Was there any difference?

If so, by how much did that difference translate into business value (or sales amount)?

Another thing to think about is advocates advocating about your company. If you were able to track the incremental lift in mentions/advocates attributed to the marketing program, then how much did that free advocacy or extra marketing awareness supported cost reduction or generate value?

I say that because advocacy program has high return because you’re getting free marketing from those advocates so that extra mentions you’re getting could be translated to extra “impressions” or “clicks”.

So if you apply your average cost per click or CPM to the impressions, perhaps you’ll be able to derive the value generated from the advocacy.

At the end of the day, all of these little bits of pieces of data will give some insights to your effort’s bottom line and understand what metrics moved the needle the most.

Some relating articles for ideas…
Matrix: Breakdown of Advocacy Marketing
An In-Depth Look at the 5% of Most Active Users
Turning Brand Advocates Into Believers
Idea Spark: Social Marketing Use Case #6—Measuring Buzz and Sentiment

Marketing Strategy

Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.