Make the Case for Social Media Campaigns With Metrics the C-Suite Respects
Earlier this year, McDonald's ran a Foursquare Day promotion that encouraged check-ins with the chance to win $5 and $10 gift cards. At first, the campaign's trivial outlay of $1,000 in prizes seemed to have produced astounding results.
Rick Wion, head of McDonald's social media, was quoted as saying he "was able to go to some of our marketing people—some of whom had never heard of Foursquare—and say, 'Guess what. With this one little effort, we were able to get a 33% increase in foot traffic to the stores.'" The apparent social-media triumph triggered laudatory praise from outlets like Mashable.
But there was a catch—Wion had misspoken. In fact, the promotion generated a 33% increase in Foursquare check-ins for the day, not total foot traffic, and a 40% bump in check-ins for the week. At the time of the campaign, notes Frederic Lardinois at ReadWriteWeb, McDonald's served 26 million people a day, while Foursquare had less than one million users.
As this clarification dimmed the campaign's aura of success, Craig Colman of the ISM blog noted the missed opportunity of focusing on an old-school metric sure to impress any dubious C-suite: comparing revenue the day of the promotion with revenue the day before.
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