Measuring Beyond the Click
By Thom Brodeur
President & COO
There’s an old business management adage…”if it can’t be measured it can’t be managed.” This has applied to lean manufacturing, agile software development, six sigma operational excellence programs, and of course marketing. For decades.
The question has moved from “what to measure?” to “can it be measured?” to “why are we measuring it?” to “how should we measure it?” And what really is measurement? The ‘counting’ of things? The ‘interpretation’ of things? The ‘impact’ of things?
Like many of my colleagues and peers, I’ve long believed that measurement has been an amorphous-if-not-entirely-elusive idea. The question isn’t whether or not marketing programs or campaigns can be measured. Sure they can. If there is data, actions or activities to ‘count’, measurement can happen. If there is tone to ‘interpret,’ it can be measured. But, what happens when your brand is one that has a material impact on its users that requires more than ‘counting’ or ‘interpreting?’
For those of us in the health and wellness space, we fundamentally have something different to measure, don’t we? We need to measure either what we hope will be a behavioral change in the consumers we aim to reach, influence and engage, or…we need to measure the impact our brands have on those consumers in some other way. How do we do this in an increasingly social networking oriented market place? Well, the way EmpowHER has chosen to help brands answer that question is through our proprietary, patent-pending Site Sentiment System. That’s a mouthful.
What is it? And why did we create it? As the third most visited women’s health destination on the Web, and the largest social network for peer health among women, we were regularly hearing from our users through posts in our community or private messages and email to team members, that people were getting healthier, and that we were changing their lives. In some cases, we were being told we were even saving lives of our direct users or their loved ones because of something they read or watched on the site, or because of an interaction they had with a medical expert or even another woman on our site. Powerful stuff. We immediately set out to use technology to capture these sentiments at the point of impact (on our content, or in our community), and then display the sentiment. Our Site Sentiment System is now branded the HER Health Meter.
HER Health Meter initially was created simply, to validate EmpowHER’s impact on users.
What we didn’t anticipate was that brands who work with us would want this too. Health and wellness marketers, practitioners and providers who pay EmpowHER to either sponsor one of our 700+ health condition centers, or 40+ advertorial-like health and wellness Resource Centers, or create custom social-meets-digital publishing solutions to reach, influence and engage our large and growing female health consumer audience also wanted to see how their brands resonated with this audience.
They wanted to measure “impact” and they wanted to measure it beyond a ‘fill out this form and a representative will call you’ kind of way. They wanted to find a way to use our HER Health Meter to gauge whether and how their educational content, messaging and promotional activities were ‘connecting’ with the female health consumers they value.
Our HER Health Meter is a measurement solution for health and wellness marketers and brands that captures and reports the collective sentiment of female health consumers about health content and interactions these consumers have with credentialed experts and other women on the site. What does it measure? It measures the impact of content, community members, site experts and our advocacy tools and resources in terms of: health improved, lives changed and lives saved.
We call this “measuring beyond the click”. Brands who work with EmpowHER now have an opportunity to measure beyond display and contextual ad impressions, pre-and-post-roll video ad views, video starts, and click-throughs. Now a brand can see whether or not they’ve made a real impact on a life. We describe this as social ROI, where return on individual trumps return on investment. And it’s resonating with our users and the brands who want to connect with them in a meaningful way.
Since we started using the HER Health Meter, nearly 1,000 people have told us the impact we’ve had on them including nearly 180 folks who have said that something on EmpowHER.com actually saved their lives. Increasingly health brands are looking to EmpowHER to help them tap into the collective wisdom of the crowds of women who use our site regularly to engage with each other, with health and wellness experts, and with content provided by many of our brand partners.
If you want to measure the value of your online marketing and advertising spend differently, give us a shout.
President & COO