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One page Literature Critique for the article below. The Literature Critique Format Guidelines is uploaded as a BDF. I found this article from google scholar. our topic is “social media and decision making”. So, when u write the Literature Critique make sure to focus in the section of social media and decision making.This is an international student, so when u write the paper don’t use many advanced words.


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Management Decision
Evaluation and decision making in social media marketing
Brendan James Keegan, Jennifer Rowley,
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To cite this document:
Brendan James Keegan, Jennifer Rowley, (2017) “Evaluation and decision making in social
media marketing”, Management Decision, Vol. 55 Issue: 1, pp.15-31,
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Evaluation and decision making
in social media marketing
Brendan James Keegan
Marketing, Operations and Digital Business,
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Manchester, UK, and
Jennifer Rowley
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Department of Information and Communications,
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Evaluation and
making in
Received 7 October 2015
Revised 13 April 2016
20 August 2016
Accepted 25 October 2016
Purpose – As organisations are increasing their investment in social media marketing (SMM), evaluation of
such techniques is becoming increasingly important. The purpose of this paper is 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 18 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 SMM evaluation framework is developed. This framework has the following six stages:
setting evaluation objectives, identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), 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 decision making
associated with social media strategies. Two key challenges are the agency-client relationship and the
available social analytics tools.
Originality/value – Despite an increasing body of research on social media objectives, KPIs and metrics, no
previous study has explored how these components are embedded in a marketing campaign planning
process. The paper also offers insights in the factors that make SMM evaluation complex and challenging.
Recommendations for further research and practice are offered.
Keywords Social media marketing, Digital marketing, Social media analytics, Agency-client relationship,
Social media marketing evaluation
Paper type Research paper
Due to its dynamic and emergent nature, the effectiveness of social media as a marketing
communications channel has presented many challenges for marketers. It is considered to
be different to traditional marketing channels, and even other digital marketing channels,
centring around a two-way conversation or exchange (Bacile et al., 2014; Shih, 2009). Many
organisations are investing in their social media presence because they appreciate the need
to engage in existing social media conversations in order to protect their corporate or brand
reputation (Lee and Youn, 2009), increase customer engagement (Gummerus et al., 2012) or
increase online sales (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis, 2014). As organisations increasingly
develop their social media presence, it is vital to be able to evaluate the impact of this
investment, including its contribution to achieving marketing objectives, as well as more
generally understanding any return-on-investment (ROI) (Pang and Lee, 2008; Fisher, 2009;
Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012; McCann and Barlow, 2015).
Research into social media strategy is limited. There is some research in this area on
some specific aspects of strategy, such as reputation management (Rokka et al., 2014), the
drivers, activities and benefits associated with social media (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis,
2014), practitioner case studies using one organisation such as Finnair ( Jarvenpaa and
Tuunainen, 2013), B2B companies adoption of social media (Michaelidou et al., 2011) and the
Management Decision
Vol. 55 No. 1, 2017
pp. 15-31
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/MD-10-2015-0450
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integration of social media into strategic marketing (Choi and Thoeni, 2016). Choi and
Theoni (2016) in particular identify a number of challenges in the area of social media
marketing (SMM) and suggest that further research is necessary.
There is a growing interest in the evaluation of the impact of SMM including research
driven by the need to demonstrate the ROI from SMM (Fisher, 2009; Hoffman and Fodor, 2010;
Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012; McCann and Barlow, 2015). There is also interest in the
potential of SMM to enhance firm and brand equity (Luo et al., 2013; Tirunillai and Tellis, 2012).
However, there is a considerable journey to travel before the impact of SMM can be intelligently
assessed. Some offer insights into the wider aspects of the processes associated with evaluation
of SMM in specific contexts (Kim and Ko, 2012; Michaelidou et al., 2011; Murdough, 2010;
Töllinen et al., 2010), in addition, there has been significant activity on measurement
frameworks and dashboards (Cvijikj et al., 2012; Marklein and Paine, 2013; Peters et al., 2013),
and some discussion of the need to establish clearly defined goals, objectives and metrics
related to the use of social media (e.g. Hoffman and Fodor, 2010; Murdough, 2010).
Only Jeffrey (2013) and McCann and Barlow (2015) have proposed frameworks that link
measurement with SMM decision making and campaign planning. Thus far, neither
framework has been empirically tested, and hence is prescriptive in nature rather than
practice-based. Yet, as O’Sullivan et al. (2009) demonstrate, marketing performance
measurement ability or frequency is linked to firm performance. Accordingly, SMM
evaluation offers a pivotal context in which to consider the challenges associated with
SMM decision making and management.
The aim of this research is contribute to knowledge and theory regarding social media
strategy through an exploratory study of the evaluation of SMM, with a view to proposing a
process framework. In addition, this paper presents a distillation of the challenges
associated with the evaluation process. Hence, the objectives of this research are to:

identify and define the stages of SMM evaluation, as operationalized by practitioners,
and to propose a conceptual framework; and

identify and summarise the challenges associated with SMM evaluation.
Next, previous research on the importance and potential of SMM and its evaluation is
summarised. Then, the interview-based research methodology is outlined. This is followed
by a report on SMM evaluation processes and a discussion of the associated challenges.
Finally, the conclusion summarises the research and suggests recommendations for
research and practice.
Literature review
Aral et al. (2013) argue that social media is “fundamentally changing the way we
communicate, collaborate, consume, and create” (p. 3). Defined as “a group of internet-based
applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that
allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010,
p. 61), social media are impacting on a wide range of business processes, from marketing
and operations to finance (Luo et al., 2013) and human resource management (Bolton, 2013).
In the marketing context, social media is seen as essentially different to other forms of
digital media (Hoffman and Novak, 2012; Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010) and as potentially
heralding a paradigm shift in marketing (Hanna et al., 2011).
Indeed, studies demonstrate that participation in a firm’s social media activities positively
affects profitability. For example, Goh et al. (2013) studied the relative impact of social media
on firm profits and established that user-generated content had a greater impact on
profits than firm-created content. Tirunillai and Tellis (2012) demonstrate that online
reviews and “chatter” are indicators of stock market performance, whilst Luo et al. (2013)
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show that social media-based metrics are leading indicators of firm equity value. Given
the significance of social media as an essential part of everyday business activities,
it is important to consider the attributes of these strategic marketing activities in the modern
digital economy.
Honing SMM requires evaluation, but it is evident that development of effective
approaches to evaluation is not straightforward. Online conversations produce large
volumes of semantic data that present considerable challenges to any analysis of social
media activity (Larson and Watson, 2011). As such, an on-going debate exists surrounding
the extent to which social media metrics can be aligned with established digital and general
marketing metrics (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010; Mangold and Faulds, 2009; Weber, 2009).
Social media evaluation and decision making
The main body of work relevant to SMM evaluation relates to key performance indicators
(KPIs) and metrics. For example, the Social Media Measurement Standards Coalition
(Marklein and Paine, 2013) has generated a set of measurement standards as a means of
developing SMM evaluation metrics. These includes content sourcing and transparency;
reach and impressions; engagement and conversation; opinion and advocacy; influence; and,
impact and value. Cvijikj et al. (2012) have linked metrics and KPIs in a tiered evaluation
framework organised according to the following components: user analysis, user-generated
content, engagement analysis and benchmarking. Peters et al. (2013) also studied the links
between metrics and KPIs, whilst Pauwels et al. (2009) debated the contribution of
dashboards. Heijnen et al.’s (2013) empirical analysis highlights the challenges in measuring
KPIs with quantitative social media data sets, and suggest that such analysis needs to be
supplemented by insights from practitioners’ everyday experience. These works have
fuelled the debate around the difficulties associated with SMM evaluation and in particular
highlighted the absence of a holistic, or universally agreed approach.
In general, empirical research on SMM evaluation is limited; at best, evaluation is
considered a minor aspect of a wider study within social media contexts. For example,
Michaelidou et al. (2011) found that most B2B organisations do not adopt any metrics to assess
SMM effectiveness. McCann and Barlow (2015) claim that 65 per cent of the SMEs in their
sample did not measure the ROI in relation to social media activities. Some studies mention
evaluation but do not elaborate on it to any great extent (e.g. Choi and Thoeni, 2016; Hanna
et al., 2011; Töllinen et al., 2012). Kim and Ko (2012) explore the link between SMM and brand
reputation in a fashion retail environment and suggest evaluation merits further exploration. In
general, then, as suggested by Ruhi (2014), there is a need for empirical investigations that
explore the link between SMM analytics and the generation of business intelligence.
Prior works contribute towards supporting the practices of SMM evaluation by proposing
frameworks that link goals, objectives, KPIs and SMM metrics. For example, Jeffrey (2013)
proposes a measurement process framework that embraces consideration of goals,
stakeholders, objectives, social media KPIs, tools and benchmarks and analysis. McCann
and Barlow (2015) propose a three-stage measurement framework of the ROI of social media,
which includes planning, implementation and evaluation. However, both Jeffrey (2013) and
McCann and Barlow’s (2015) frameworks are prescriptive in nature rather than reflective of
practice and their frameworks have yet to be empirically tested. Furthermore, both proposed
frameworks lack a formal definition of the actions at each stage.
Interview process
Since SMM, and more specifically its evaluation, are at a relatively early stage of
development with limited prior research, an exploratory study that adopted an inductive
Evaluation and
making in
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approach was chosen for this research. This approach provided the opportunity to develop a
framework and gather deep insights into the actions and challenges embedded in the
evaluation of SMM. It also provided structure and flexibility to ensure the coverage of key
themes whilst accommodating unanticipated insights (Bryman and Bell, 2010; Saunders
et al., 2009; Kvale and Brinkmann, 2009).
The study used semi-structured interviews with key informants. The interview protocol
was informed by the relevant literature and was further refined through pilot interviews
with four practitioners to test rigour, validity and appropriateness (Bryman and Bell, 2010).
All questions were open-ended, thus not limiting the interviewee’s choice of answers
(Gubrium and Holstein, 2002) and were supplemented by prompts to ensure coverage of key
themes associated with each stage (Creswell, 2013). In-depth interviews were conducted
face-to-face in the informants’ offices, a setting where interviewees could elaborate and show
supporting documents (Creswell, 2013). Informants were assured of confidentiality and
anonymity and careful attention was paid to other ethical issues (Bryman and Bell, 2010).
In identifying informants for this study, a purposive sampling approach was used to seek
out information-rich cases (Patton, 1990) with key informants who were able to comment
on current practice and experience in the evaluation of SMM. Such professionals have
considerable experience of SMM across a wide range of clients. In total, 18 specialist
marketers were interviewed (Table I), all of whom either had responsibility for SMM, or
more generally digital marketing within their agency. This number of informants is
consistent with other qualitative studies in this field (e.g. Veloutsou and Taylor, 2012;
Wallace and Chernatony, 2007).
Using agency practitioners as key informants provides broader insights into SMM
evaluation than would have been possible through direct conversations with brand owners.
The specialist agencies included ranged from multi-national marketing agencies servicing
global client brands, through to small and micro agencies with a UK client base, embracing
UK national, regional and sector-specific brands.
During the interview process, all informants referred to more than one client brand,
such that, in total, perspectives gathered during the interviews encompassed 78 brands, in
Table I.
Informant profile
Informant role title
Size of agency
Head of social media
Head of social and SEO
Head of social media
Digital strategy director
Head, digital marketing
Head of social media
Head of social media
Head of social media
Head of social media
Head of social media
Head of digital marketing
Head of digital strategy
Social media manager
Head of digital marketing
Digital marketing executive
Social media consultant
Social media consultant
Typical client size
Large/international and national
Large/international and national
Large/international and national
Large/international and national
Large/international and national
National and SME
SME and micro
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the following sectors: sports, retail, automotive, drinks, hospitality, professional services,
transport, and not-for-profit organisations. Client brands which were discussed in the
interview were broadly classified as large (international or national), SME or
microbusiness (Table I).
Data analysis
Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted in order to develop a rich
description of the data set and to identify implicit and explicit ideas in the data (Creswell,
2013). Thematic analysis is appropriate in research such as this that adopts an inductive
approach and seeks to construct theories that are grounded in the data (Charmaz and
Belgrave, 2002). Thematic analysis followed the six phases recommended by Braun and
Clarke (2006): familiarisation with data, generating initial codes, searching for themes
among codes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes and producing the final
account of the findings.
The data were initially analysed interview transcript by transcript, before checking for
verification across transcripts (Miles and Huberman, 1994). The analysis was completed
manually supporting a closeness to the data which allowed distinctive themes to emerge
and encouraged detailed knowledge of each theme (Eisenhardt, 1991). This analysis led to
the identification and emergence of the six stages of the framework, challenges and
responses to challenges associated with each stage (as shown in Figure 1 and Table II).
Evaluation and
making in
Figure 1 shows the stages of SMM evaluation that emerged from the interviews. It is
presented at this point to assist in structuring the details of this section, and was not
pre-determined before the interviews were conducted. In the remainder of this section,
insights offered on the challenges associated with each of these stages are presented.
Setting evaluation objectives
There is a recogni …
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