We were hired by CCP Games to help refine their approach to social media; the contract ran from January 2010 to February 2011. Google+ hadn’t been released, yet, and the content team had a current editorial plan for the company blogs and YouTube channel, so our focus became Facebook and Twitter.
Directive: Generate traffic to CCP-owned websites, especially the EVE Online website.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Site Traffic: Looking at the raw amount of traffic that passed from social media into the EVE Online website would give us an indication that the content posted on those platforms was engaging enough to result in an action – a click through to the EVE Online site.
- Source Rank: In addition to traffic, we tracked how each platform compared to all others as a source of traffic. Other sources might include search engines, paid advertising, blogs, news sites and outside message boards. By tracking this, we would be able to tell how important – in terms of traffic – Facebook and Twitter were, when compared to other traffic sources.
- Pages per Visit: It’s one thing to get someone to go to the EVE Online site. If the goal is to have them stay there and engage with our content, though, we needed a way to measure how ‘sticky’ that content was. By measuring changes in the pages viewed each time someone visited the EVE Online website, we could get an indication as to whether we were pointing people to good / sticky ports of call.
When our contract with CCP ended in February 2011, these were the results of our efforts:
- Facebook: Traffic had risen so high that Facebook ranked as #3 (up from #46) on the list of traffic sources to the EVE Online website, with visitors viewing 324% more pages per visit than in January 2010. The only sources of traffic that were generating more juice for our client (in terms of traffic) were Google organic search (#1) and direct traffic (#2) from people typing a known EVE Online URL into their browser. For perspective, Facebook was generating more traffic to the EVE Online website than both paid advertising (#5) and referrals from other EVE-related URLs (#4).
- Twitter: Traffic was also up from this source as well, moving Twitter from is previous ranking (#271) to being the #14 generator of traffic to the EVE Online site, with visitors viewing 266% more pages per visit that in January 2010. This change in Twitter traffic was impressive, at it sat just under the traffic generated by the EVE Online newsletter and just above traffic from Bing (organic search) and Yahoo (organic search).
In addition, while our task was not one of customer acquisition, we were also able to track new customers brought in by our direct efforts. In the end, the value of customers generated by those efforts was greater than the cost to the client for our services – meaning our contract, when netting with revenues from acquired customers, had at least a neutral effect on CCP’s balance sheet.
We performed some other tasks before our contract ended, not related to our original mission. What we’ve proven – at least for this client on this contract – is that social media can generate a substantial amount of traffic, even to rival sources usually thought of as the defacto kings in this area. We also believe, based on this experience, that while social media is not best suited for customer acquisition, it can certainly help in this regard, even to the point of providing a positive ROI for your social media efforts.