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Evaluation and decision-making in social media marketing

Keegan, B J and Rowley, J (2016) Evaluation and decision-making in social media marketing. Management Decision. ISSN 1355-252X (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose - As organisations are increasing their investment in social media marketing (SMM), evaluation of such techniques is becoming increasingly important. This research seeks to contribute to knowledge regarding SMM strategy by developing a stage model of SMM evaluation and uncovering the challenges in this process. Design/methodology/approach – Interviews were conducted with eighteen key informants working for specialist SMM agencies. Such informants are a particularly rich source, since they manage social media campaigns for a wide range of clients. An exploratory research was conducted and thematic analysis surfaced the key components of the SMM evaluation process and associated challenges. Findings – The Social Media Marketing Evaluation Framework is developed. This Framework has the following six stages: setting evaluation objectives, identifying KPI’s, identifying metrics, data collection and analysis, report generation, and management decision making. Challenges associated with each stage of the Framework are identified, and discussed with a view to better understanding decisionmaking associated with social media strategies. Two key challenges are the agencyclient relationship and the available social analytical tools. Originality/value – Despite an increasing body of research on social media objectives, KPI’s and metrics, no previous study has explored how these components are embedded in a marketing campaign planning process. The article also offers insights in the factors that make SMM evaluation complex and challenging. Recommendations for further research and practice are offered.

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