The ALS Association (ALSA) — which fights Lou Gehrig’s disease by funding research, supporting people with the condition and fostering government partnerships — this weekend has now collected over $100 million dollars from a viral social media campaign. Over the same period last year, they collected $2.6 million.
A viral social media campaign is a buzzword that refers to a tremendous increase in brand awareness from word of mouth enabled by social networks and the internet.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has its fans and critics. But there’s no denying, for a very worthwhile organization, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated tremendous awareness and financial success. It is likely to go down in history as one of the most successful viral social media campaigns, ever; and to serve as a model for other non-profits and profit organizations who will attempt to duplicate this level of success for their causes.
Without question, donations and time to results are key metrics to be included as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). But social media has played a key role. What metrics do we use to make the connection How do we create an actionable scorecard?
Here are 16 social media metrics for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to watch.
- KEYWORD TRENDS: The chart at the top is from Google Trends. It is an index that measures increases and decreases in keyword search volumes. In this case, “ALS” and the “Ice Bucket Challenge” were plotted. As you can see, increases in “Ice Bucket Challenge” have had a direct affect on interest in the “ALS.”
- KEYWORD SEARCH VOLUME: The average monthly keyword search volume for ALS is now 550,000 according the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Ice Bucket Challenge is 2900 showing how awareness has been transferred..
- WEBSITE RANK: The organization’s website, alsa.org, is now ranked as the 648 most viewed website in the US and 4.192 in the world (an improvement in rank of 168,792 within 3 months) according to Alexa. For perspective, the #1 website is Google; #2 is Facebook and #3 is YouTube. This is quite an accomplishment proving the campaign has driven people from social media to the website where they can donate.
- WEBSITE LINKS: There are now 3,248 other sites linking and driving web traffic to alsa.org. Among the biggest are YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia and Reddit.
- WEBSITE ANALYTICS: Although only the ALSA has access to the Google Analytics of their website, Unitque Visitors, Traffics Sources. particularly the social networks, and Key Content (Web Pages) would be primary measurements. Website Analytics are often overlooked as social media metrics when they are often the most valuable.
- CONVERSION RATE: Of course, the Donate page would be a key web page from which to track the Conversion Rate about visitors and people who donated. The Conversion Rate should be monitored weekly and measured against the Conversion Rate a year ago.
- VIDEOS: Since videos are central to this campaign, YouTube is the first social network to examine. There are 6,000,000 videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challengea now posted on YouTube.
- MOST VIEWED VIDEOS: Among some of the most viewed videos and their numbers are Bill Gates (18,465,237), Simpsons (11,567,782) and a compilation of the Failed Attempts (17,903,561).
- VIDEO SUBSCRIBERS: On YouTube, there are two channels dedicated to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; one was created by Zoomin and has 34,832 subscribers; the official ALSA channel has only 1,962 subscribers.
- YOUTUBE ANALYTICS: ALSA could know from looking at their YouTube Analytics where geographically viewers came from, how long they watched and what type of device (desktop or mobile) they viewed the video.
- SENTIMENT ANALYSIS: Since there are fans and critics of the effort, sentiment analysis plays a key role in the evaluation of any viral marketing campaign. According to Social Searcher, the ratio of positive to negative comments has been 3:1 overall. But it differs widely by social network. Facebook is 7:3; Twitter is 2:3 (more negative than positive) and Google+ is 9:1. Another social search engine, Topsy, which is predominantly influenced by Twitter reports a positive to negative ratio of 27% to 73%. This indicated targeted resources are required to manage conversations from a viral social media campaign.
- LIKES: The ALS Association Facebook page has 319,000 Likes. It was growing at a triple digit weekly rate. However, after just a few weeks, the rate has slowed and is now beginning to decline. This provides learning on what should be expected as the life cycle of viral social media campaigns.
- PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS: Facebook also has a measure called “People Talking About This.” It is an algorithm of people who Like, Comment or Share conversations that are occurring on a particular Facebook page. For the ALS Association, there are over 470,000 People Talking About This for the ALS Association – more than Like the organization. This is rare. According to WOMMA, a normative rate rate of People Talking About This to Likes is 1%. This shows the virility of the campaign.
- HASHTAGS: There are numerous hashtags on the Ice Bucket Challenge – such as #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge and #StrikeOutALS. All of which can be measured for Likes, Shares and Comments to show the level of sentiment and engagement for this event.
- TWEET VOLUME: Within the past 30 days, according to Topsy, there have been 8.7 million Tweets for the Ice Bucket Challenge. In the past 7 days, the number is 2.4 million Tweets. But, it looks like it’starting to fall. It’s now 160,,000 per day (1.2 million weekly rate) to 6,000 in the last hour (1.0 million weekly rate).
- KEY INFLUENCERS: Participants been a key to the success of this campaign. From politicians (George Bush, Barak Obama), business leaders (Mark Zuckerberg) to celebrities (Matt Damon, Charlie Sheen), many people of influence have given their implied endorsement by taking the Ice Bucket challenge. The quantity and quality of these participants are a key metric.
Rutgers Business School Executive Educative, where I teach, has a Social Media Marketing Mini-MBA for Non-Profits. Donna Dourney York, was a participant in the program. Donna has made amazing progress changing the way people perceive ALS.
Do you think these are social media metrics the ALS Association should watch? Did this help you understand how to use metrics to guide success for viral social media campaigns?