I believe almost everything Jeremiah Owyang says, and have great fondness for many of the people involved in the discussion that produced this Social media Measuremement Whitepaper
but there's so much wrong headedness here that I am missing out on cocktail hour to blog about it.
First of all the notion that
"The crux of the issue in the social media arena, however, is in the fact that social media measurement, unlike those in other disciplines, thus far seems highly subjective and completely unique to the interpretation of the entity doing the measuring. It is one thing to measure with a great deal of confidence a market leader’s changing market share from year to year, but quite another to determine the extent of damage to a company’s reputation after its CEO uses company funds to, say, purchase solid gold shower curtain rings for his home."
PR people have been measuring relationships and the impact of negative news for decades, and social media is actually easier because you can now listen in o conversations, and track the activity via web analytics.
At the same time, no universally agreed upon measurement metric (or metrics) seems to be emerging, leading to the need for identifying and defining multiple social media attributes that an organization can examine and consider as part of its strategy. And while most agree that measurement tools and processes of the future will need to be flexible, having some kind of benchmark across the industry could yield benefits.
The reason that no one standard exists is that there is no one single objective for a social media program -- or for any PR program for that matter. If you ask a room full of people what their goals you probably won't get any two to agree, so how can you expect them to agree on how to measure the movement towards those goals in one uniform way ?
“There are so many companies out there doing measurement right now,” said Jeremy Pepper, a PR specialist and currently Vice President of PR at Weber Shandwick Worldwide, “that there needs to be some standard so that we can go back to our companies, to our clients, and say, ‘This is the standard, this is what this means.’”
Sorry Jeremy, but you clearly don't get social media, if you think that a standard metric will tell people what it means. What it sounds like you're looking for is a common way to measure impact. Well, you could start with sales, I suppose. Isn't that what you're trying to achieve. Why do eyeballs matter? In the olden days if you reached enough eyeballs often enough you might sell something. But that's not how people make decisions today. They make them based on relationships and trust, and engagement. Without those components, you won't make the sale. The holy grail is a measure of engagement, but even the definition of engagement varies depending on whether you're an advertiser, a seller of media, a corporation or a non profit.
Sorry to inform you folks, but a standard metric will not solve the problem. Listening to your customers will.