Watcher KPIs for Analysts, Investors & Brand Watchers

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Watcher KPIs — Ranking Signals for Analysts, Investors & other Brand Watchers

The Internet’s reach, and especially the volume of Web and social Web activity, represent a good source of predictive signals about everything from political sentiment and social issues to brand perceptions and buying intentions. Every day, billions of search queries, website and social network updates are transmitted over the Internet as people publish opinions, share content, look for answers to problems, and give or seek suggestions. Analyzing these signals could provide indications of future demand for a product or service, and even to the value of the brand.

However, not everyone who wants online performance KPIs for a company necessarily works at the company. For different reasons, financial and business analysts, investors, acquiring companies, opinion researchers, brand watchers and others need to compare the online performance of multiple companies or brands side by side. These audiences are often more interested in predictive measures rather than historic ones, in indicators of rising or falling prospects over time, and in comparisons between brands rather than a deep dive into any one of them. Here are some useful measures that have a predictive element:

Are consumers paying more, or less, attention to a brand or an issue?

It’s pretty obvious that if over time a brand (or issue) is getting more mentions, tags, citations as well as links, Likes, and Follows, then consumers are paying more attention to it (and the converse is also true). One more incisive brand sub-metric is the extent to which those audience engagement signals are being re-shared, re-posted, re-tweeted, re-blogged and otherwise passed along virally.

Is a brand’s advertising campaign working? Is it getting the maximum consumer engagement and ROI?

Because real world events get discussed online, online metrics can indicate a brand’s ROI on its TV advertising spend or sponsorships. For example, the impact of campaign slogans or buzz words can be found in the fluctuations in the numbers of pages indexed for the terms and in the fluctuations in audience engagement signals. Some measures indicate immediate impact, others indicate long term residual value but they all quantify user sentiment in one way or another.

Which of three (or 5) competitor sites is seen as the most trusted by search engines? Which could potentially get demoted?

A site that is steadily gaining high quality backlinks will be seen as increasingly trusted and reliable by search engines (especially by Google); its pages will be positioned higher in the search results, meaning they’ll be more visible to potential customers. A very important site sub-metric is the quality of the text in the link, which Google especially gives a lot of weight to. Conversely, some type of backlinks can damage a site by suggesting either that the link giver doesn’t want to pass the link credit to the receiving site or that the receiving site is involved in deceptive link practices. The former can result in a site being de-prioritized by search engines, the latter can result in penalties and even being permanently banned from the index. A key site sub-metric as an indicator of link issues is the ratio of bad to good links.

Fluctuations in the number of pages indexed for a brand name or a website

This is a competitiveness metric which indicates that search engines or consumers or both are paying more or less attention to a brand or a site, or that the site itself is undergoing change. A useful brand sub-metric is the % of pages indexed versus published, which indicates how seriosuly the search engines take the site (or may indicate a brand’s lack of success at getting 100% of its pages indexed).

Is the category or topic becoming more or less attractive to consumers?

The increase or decrease in the number of pages indexed for a category or topic indicates the level of publishing by businesses, consumers, media, organisations, government etc — and the level of interest in it shown by search engines. A relevant brand sub-metric is the share of category or topic among brands as the numbers fluctuate.

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