Measurement makes Facebook a marketing win

As more companies use Facebook as a marketing platform, they are demanding measurement tools to gauge consumer interaction on the site.

This month alone, both Coremetrics and Omniture announced Facebook- measuring platforms, following Webtrends’ February unveiling of a similar service. Nielsen has its own Facebook measurement tools, which are more focused on Web advertising on the site.

Seton Hall University rolled out a Facebook page in December with Coremetrics’ service to boost enrollment among students accepted for the class of 2014.

“We started setting it up as a way to interact with accepted students, to get them to enroll,” said Robert Brosnan, director of Web and digital communications at Seton Hall.

Two things quickly became clear to Seton Hall administrators. First, the page was more successful than they had planned, drawing not only prospective students but their friends as well. The university also found that traditional click conversion measures didn’t adequately detail the school’s interaction with consumers on the site, said Brosnan.

“There was not a lot of clickthrough, but there was a lot of engagement,” he said. “We realized we were missing out on a good portion of the picture.”

Seton Hall also found that traditional traffic measurements didn’t reflect the number of people getting information about the school multiple times on Facebook.

“The virality of Facebook, where your friends discover what you write on a page, ended up connecting a lot of people to us for the first time,” he said.

He added that the university is rethinking its direct marketing strategy because of the initiative’s success.

“Direct marketing is normally done in such large distributions,” he said. “But Facebook allows us to provide a message of personal attention with an authentic feel.”

Zach Hofer-Shall, an analyst at Forrester Research, said organizations are examining nontraditional measurements on Facebook, such as the comments on posts and the number or friends and fans.

“It is so popular because all of a sudden you can measure things that before in print, you never knew,” he said.

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