Measuring A Social Network Campaign

Last week in "Media Metric Hypocrisy" I discussed the misalignment of critical metrics considered across various media (television vs. print vs. online). The obvious problem for advertisers and agencies being that it is difficult to compare advertising ROI across media when the metrics differ so widely. A less definable, but more troubling issue for me being that if all advertising has the same end goal regardless of medium, how can the definition of success be so dependent on the medium? The irony of last week's Spin is that this week, actually probably while you are reading this Spin, I will be moderating a panel the topic of which is "Measuring Branded Communities to Optimize Your Advertising Investment" at the Digital Media Measurement and Pricing Summit.

So a week after outlining the issues faced by having multiple criteria for success across media types, I am going to now enter into a discussion that attempts to explore what the best practices are for measuring the effectiveness of social media campaigns. We'll be asking, in effect, if there exist a set of criteria separate from traditional online metrics (yep, I just said "traditional online" -- ha) that can best help advertisers evaluate and optimize their social media campaigns.



I really don't envy the job of the media buyer today. I mean, really, how much harder can we make this for them? I don't think there is a "separate" set of metrics. Mostly because I don't think we have even achieved a first set of effective metrics (RE: "The Online Advertising Conundrum - More Metrics, Less Meaning"). Rather, I think that social media, as a tool used correctly by advertisers, offers not only the effective measurement of advertising effectiveness within social media, but a mechanism for measuring advertising's effectiveness across all other media as well. My hope would be that rather than creating yet another set of metrics for which we will need a magic score card to compare across spending opportunities, we can perhaps reach instead the common denominator among advertising's efforts (outside of direct marketing), to reach, change and/or solidify people's perception of an advertiser.

After all, the goal isn't to connect advertisers to metrics; the goal is to connect advertisers to people. It is the unprecedented ability to have a true dialogue with people through social media -- and the factor of consumer control -- that for the first time shifts the nature of the conversation to that of equals. Instead of advertisers talking to people (which is what traditional media metrics are designed to measure), social media will enable advertisers to talk with people. The results of this dialogue, if captured and analyzed correctly, will allow advertisers to measure the success of their advertising spend like never before.

Before you can measure a campaign, you first have to define and execute that campaign. An interesting aspect of today's conversation will be around what activities within social media advertisers should be/are spending on and bringing success. I am sure we will discuss various definitions of engagement and why, if engagement is so important, most advertisers still first demand reach (as a matter of fact, since I am moderating, I can guarantee it). We will also discuss the move of advertiser to increase spend on building their own communities vs. tapping into existing social media communities ("Consumer-Products/New-Media Companies?"). What are your thoughts on social media campaign metrics? Next week I can do a post game of today's panel.

P.S. Go Giants!

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