SMG Moves Beyond Owned, Earned, Paid: Developing New Metric For 'Shared'

Person-on-Computer-Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Groupe is teaming with ShareThis, a tech company that enables the sharing of Web pages, to develop and test a new planning and buying metric for assessing the value of shared content online.

The new measurement will provide a more precise way to assess how engaged people are with Web content and to what extent they value it, said Kate Sirkin, global research director, Starcom MediaVest Group. “If they’re sharing, you know they care about it, and that they believe it would be useful to somebody,” she said.

Buyers are often willing to pay a premium for ads in content that consumers prefer. This metric will help agencies and their clients determine what that premium should be, Sirkin added.

On the Web, shared content is becoming increasingly critical to marketers’ plans. Earlier research from SMG and ShareThis indicates that shared content now constitutes 10% of all Internet traffic. 

The new metric would measure what the companies describe as a “raw social traffic score” by tallying both the number of times readers share content from sites and the number of times those “shares” are clicked on by the recipients. That data will be compared to page views. 

“The resulting figure can then be benchmarked against the broader measure of social quality spanning the more than 1 million sites and more than 10 billion monthly sharing signals that make up the ShareThis network,” the companies stated. 

“It’s a really valuable thing from our side.” Sirkin said. For campaigns designed to get consumers to share content as a marketing goal, she added, “we can plan and direct publishers against that and then measure it at the end.”

Also measureable will be the impact of shared links designed to spur e-commerce, download coupons or even watch a video, Sirkin said.  

ShareThis and SMG are currently beta testing the new measurement technique which will roll out broadly next year, first in the U.S. and later internationally. “We’ll be able to measure just about every publisher against every category,” said Sirkin. She said it would be the first time that such measurements become a full-fledged planning and buying metric, as opposed to earlier efforts that measured, on a much smaller scale, single campaigns.  

Kurt Abrahamson, CEO of ShareThis, said the metric would allow clients to “buy high social quality pages and Web sites, instead of targeting by audience or demographic. Pages that are shared are pages that are engaged with and users tend to spend more time,” with such content, he said.

Abrahamson also said people tend to share pages with those they know. "We believe that this measurement will allow advertisers to ultimately reach higher engaged audiences than using traditional demographic type of targets.”

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