Note: He is VP, Digital Research at Fleishman Hillard, one of the world's largest Public Relations agencies (and part of the Omnicon Group).
Note: I have selectively quoted under each point.
A taste of a delectably useful article. Go read.
Things to Forget in 2011
Number of Impressions is a flawed, unwashed masses metric for social media measurement. Any time you are tempted to use the word ‘impressions’ in social media, think about ‘potential reach’ or ‘opportunities to see’ instead. Or better yet, concentrate on Engagement and Influence.
2. Vanity Metrics – Fans and Followers
Number of Fans and Followers are metrics you probably should include in your overall metrics set, but should be de-emphasized and not be a primary area of focus.
But in 2011, I expect a lot of debate but not a lot of progress in creating social media measurement standardization. ...there is a big difference between motivating someone to action ... and motivating someone to purchase which is ultimately the type of influence many companies and brands are most interested in effecting.
4. Ad or Media Equivalency
The true value of social media is not how much an equivalent ad would have cost but in the impact it has on brand, reputation and marketing.
5. Return on Engagement/Influence/etc.
Many confuse the notion of impact with ROI ... Engagement creates impact for a brand or organization, but may or may not generate ROI in the short-term. Creating influence – effecting someone’s attitudes, opinions and/or actions – creates impact but may or may not create ROI in the short-term. It often is better to think about measuring impact first and then deciding whether or not you have the means and data necessary to attribute financial value.
Things to Learn in 2011
1. Measurable Objectives
There are many issues and challenges in the field of social media measurement. The easiest one to fix is for everybody to learn how to write measurable objectives. Most objectives today are either not measurable as written or are strategies masquerading as objectives.
2. Impact versus ROI
Most social media initiatives today do not (or should not) have ROI as a primary objective. Most social programs are designed to create impact, not ROI, in the short-term. There is also the notion that many social media initiatives are in an investment phase, not a return phase of maturity.
3. Hypothetical ROI Models
One important step in determining how a social media initiative creates ROI for an organization is to create a hypothetical model that articulates the cascading logic steps in the process, as well as the data needed and assumptions used. The model is most useful in the planning stages of a program.
4. Integrated Digital Measurement
Communicators should now take a more content and consumer-centric view of the world, orchestrating all the consumer touch points available in our increasingly digital world.
If you are not already familiar with value attribution models, prepare to hear much more about them in 2011. Value attribution models attempt to assign a financial value to specific campaigns and/or channels (e.g. advertising, search, direct, social) that are part of a larger marketing effort. So rather than giving all the conversion credit to the last click in a chain or even the first click, the model attributes portions of the overall value across the relevant campaigns and/or channels.