Measuring social media

15.6 million is the number of results that you get from a Google search of “social media measuring”. Ouch, that’s a lot to trawl through, so let’s all hope that Google’s algorithms are doing a good job of prioritising the best ones.

However, it gets worse as the 15.6 million results is less than half of the 38.5 million results for “social media monitoring”. This really is a huge jungle and demonstrates the evolution of this subject, my hypothesis being:

The (business) world needs much better measurement and is currently stuck in a morass of data overload from monitoring.

The first place to start here is to define the difference. In simple terms, this manifests itself at different levels. Monitoring occurs at a level that has a lack of depth as it focuses on simple data outputs around the level of noise or “engagement” – mentions, followers, fans, clicks, tweets etc. Measuring extends a degree of depth to this by applying analytics to it, at one level to to benchmark using measures like ‘share of voice’, and at a deeper level by understanding the impact on business metrics – leads, conversions and ultimately sales and returns.

There are two big problems with relying solely on monitoring:

1. The results do not match up against tangible business outcomes, so what is the real value? and;

2. The results tend to create even more data that is time-consuming to understand and evaluate. And time is a precious commodity!

So, measuring is all important, and it has got some catching up to do. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

[Whitepaper 1]

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