How Coca-Cola’s Quest to Measure Engagement Led to a New Metric
By: Natalie A. Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company
March 31, 2017
We launched Coca-Cola Journey on Nov. 12, 2012, as a meaningful way to connect with our consumers and fans. Brand journalism was still in its infancy at that time.
We wanted to make a bold statement by turning our corporate website into a digital magazine, so we did just that. My challenge was to make sure we had an average audience of 1.2 million fans on a monthly basis, and our team needed to ensure this audience base was growing and engaged.
Measuring the number of users to the site was rather easy, but measuring engagement was an entirely different story. First, we had to capture traditional web analytics since that is what our leaders understood. The next step was to look at how the social web impacted these results.
Most of us are familiar with the core KPIs of Google Analytics such as users, sessions, page views, bounce rate, average time on page, search and CTR. Not surprisingly, we use all of these metrics to examine our performance.
But do these metrics provide the holistic view we need? The answer is, no, they do not, because they alone do not capture the engagement of our audience. So, what does? In an effort to capture engagement and understand what type of content grows organically, we created a metric that we termed Expressions of Interest (EOI).
The EOI Formula
The EOI metric captures conversations and social engagement for individual stories. The purpose of the EOI metrics report is to track each story’s level of engagement.
We use this information to determine why each article performed the way it did. A story that has a high EOI score is one that is more viral and is receiving more traction on the open web. A low score indicates that there is less interest to readers outside of the Coca-Cola Journey site.
EOI helps us to understand what stories are performing well, whether we should put more paid media behind a story and if we should create more supporting stories with a different news angle. This quantitative value is calculated and weighted based on referrals from social networks, shares from the actual page, traffic from SEO and the total visits ranking (scored 1-3) for an individual story.
Each multiplier in the equation directly correlates to the values we place on generating conversations outside of the Journey site. For example, visits from social reads/networks are the most important to us because those reads recognize the value of incremental visits from outside Journey.
The equation to determine an EOI score is: (social read x 10) + (social shares x 5) + (SEO x 1) + total visits rank / 10 = EOI Score.
Once we create a weekly EOI report, we share it with our international editors. The weekly report shows the top 10 performing EOI stories and their metrics. We believe the overall health of Journey is reflected in the number social referrals to Journey and the top referring stories.
One important discovery has been that when we look at these results following a story’s appearance, we typically see momentum pick up within two weeks. We believe this has to do with factors including the number of stories created about a particular topic and the fact that it takes SEO a few weeks to gain traction.
Coca-Cola Journey judges the success of a story by two criteria: the share-worthiness of our stories as shown by the EOI, and our reader surveys. Our reader surveys are conducted on our site. They are surveys that prove the content we create is making a material difference in reader understanding of the company and its priorities.
Those results combined with EOI are the alpha and omega of our metrics.
Natalie A. Johnson is the senior manager of digital communications and social media at The Coca-Cola Company.
Connect with Natalie: @NatalieJohnson