This is the second in a mini-series of blogs rounding up some of the key points from DigiPharm Europe 2011. This blog will look at measuring the return on investment of digital activity, the monitoring of Social Media activity and share some case studies that were discussed at DigiPharm.
Return on Investment or ROI is a common feature of boardroom meetings. But it becomes a very different concept when you’re talking about digital.
With digital projects or campaigns, it is usually quite easy to track the cost of an investment. It might equal the direct costs from your agency, plus the staff time put into the project, plus supporting promotion for example. Not a difficult sum.
Forget the financials and think outside the box
The problem comes when we try to measure the return on a digital project. Parts of this are easy – if you are promoting a product and ask people to use a promotional code when ordering, the sales total is the return. If you are promoting an event, the money from ticket sales is the return. But in pharma, when the Code limits what and how you can promote, it really is difficult to measure.
The problems go further than this – a company may take someone on specifically to run their social media presence. What is the return on that? Increased brand awareness? Better digital connections to the marketplace? Try putting a value to one of those for your company.
As with many aspects of digital, the concept of ROI doesn’t really translate in a way that makes it useful. So how can we measure the ROI of digital, particularly in Pharma, where digital campaigns and presence is so different to other industries? You change the way you measure it.
Social Media Monitoring – a Case Study
Rather than measuring the number of direct sales resulting from a leaflet, you can measure the number of visitors to a site (which is the number of people receiving your message). Instead of measuring the increase in profit, try looking at the increase in Twitter followers. ROI for digital is still a concept – it’s just a different concept than in more traditional arenas.
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) built a Social Media (SM) Dashboard to monitor their online social activity. The dashboard monitored the quantity of SM activity about BI and tracked the emotion of the activity. The dashboard was configured to distinguish between positive, negative and neutral comments by picking up on tonality based on key words. This means it can show, at a glance whether the general SM perception of BI is positive, negative or neutral on any given day.
How does this help? you might ask. BI can track the positive and negative feedback and discussion that is out there. They can see how this changes when a certain tweet is sent out from the corporate Tweeter. They can see what the mood is about a certain product at a certain time. They can track the impact of a new website’s launch or a new Facebook page.
In other campaigns you can track the number of people who have accessed a specific campaign’s micro-site. The genius of Google Analytics gives you all the stats you need to know whether your digital is achieving. If you spend £30,000 on an interactive micro-site and get 400 visitors, that’s not a great ROI. Alternatively you could spend £10,000 on a simpler site that gets the message across, and with a few hundred pounds spent on pay-per-click you get 12,000 visitors in a month, 45% of who view 6 pages or more, for example, you know you’ve done well.
DIY Market Insights
There are several morals to this I guess – forget the traditional measurements and benchmarks when you are trying to assess the impact of digital. Work with those who understand it to look at ways you can measure the success of what you are doing and see how those measurements are significant and how you can use them to impress even the most cynical and anti-digital managers. If you’re on this blog, the chances are you know the power of digital, you understand the potential market that is lurking out there waiting to be tapped up. The chances are you just need that little bit of extra insight to see how you can persuade those above you that it’s all worth it.
Many pharma companies pay consultants to conduct market research. self-analysis of your digital can give you a great insight into your market – you can spot their trends, you can see where they go. You can see how they react to different things. Invaluable. And free. How’s that for ROI?
So it’s not about measuring the monetary return – it’s about measuring and putting into context the statistical data that is readily available to you. And the evaluation doesn’t need to cost a fortune either. SM analysis is free, quick and easy. You can do it yourself, just by searching twitter for mentions of your company and key products.