Any way you measure it, 2010 has been an exciting and successful year for public relations measurement. This was the year that Republicans discovered Twitter and made it a mainstream media tool. The year of the Barcelona Summit and its Seven Principles. The year that a whole bunch of PR people agreed that AVEs should be relegated to the dustbin of history. It was the year that the big guns got into social media measurement: SAS launched its social media analytics tool; Attensity bought Biz 360; and Marketwire bought Systomos. The year that PR News named Tim Marklein Measurement Expert of the Year, and that Northwestern Mutual won the IPR’s Jack Felton Golden Ruler Award.
Despite all this movement forward, there were also those that continued to stand in the way of progress. Europe’s NLA attempted to put a stake in all of our hearts by suing and winning greater control over copyrights. The issue of what is a journalist and what is media came to the fore because of Wikileaks. Most of Capital Hill seemed to land on the side of restricting freedom of the press. And then there are all the menaces out there that seem to insist upon doing measurement wrong.
The Best and Worst of Measurement Products of 2010
Against this backdrop of huge change, we saw some amazing innovations. And some not so amazing. So here is my selection of the best and worst of measurement products in 2010. I’ve ranked them least to best in order of their benefit to marketers, corporate communicators, community managers, and anyone else reading this newsletter.
The Wildfire Social Media Monitor from Wildfire
This is yet another of those “Who is winning?” tools that sees all of social media as some sort of a horse race to attract likes and followers. To paraphrase my favorite 16-year-old: It doesn’t deserve the air required to speak its name. It will lure you down the rat hole of big numbers in the pursuit of faux followers. It will not measure success.
The Cost of No PR Measurement Calculator from Wallop! OnDemand
This one gets high marks for encouraging people to think about the cost of not measuring. But as a tool it’s a gimmicky come-on that gets your hopes up and then seriously disappoints. It would be so nice to see them build this into something respectable.
The Not So Bad
G’lerts from Klea Global
G’lerts announced its arrival on the measurement scene with great fanfare, and quickly filled up inboxes with annoying messages that you had to call the company to stop. It’s too soon to tell if its got potential value. Maybe it’s just an app in search of a problem to solve.
The iPad from Apple
I know, I know, it’s not really there yet (if it were, it might top this list). But the iPad really does change everything in our business. The simple fact that Apple has sold 18 million of them since its launch in April is making every retailer stand up and take notice. The iPad, and all the other tablets that will attempt to compete with it, will effectively move marketing into the mobile space. And, once we’re actually measuring transactions in real time, measurement for all of us will get easier (and kill off AVEs that much faster).
Twitalyzer from Web Analytics Demystified
Twitalyzer has been around for a while as an alternative to Klout. Its relaunch in June included lots of new analytic tools, the ability to build influencer lists and identify others interested in the same topic, and a generally cleaned-up and easier-to-use interface. Twitalyzer is an invaluable resource for anyone in our industry trying to measure influence.
Runner-up for Best Upgrade: Primer of Public Relations Research, Second Edition, by Don Stacks. It’s a topnotch update of the classic how-to and reference book. Read my review here.
Traackr from Traackr
Traackr received the most nominations and so wins the People’s Choice this year. Traackr takes on the problem of identifying and measuring online influence in a whole new way. Yes they use all kinds of metrics and algorithms, but they actually have real humans searching out and defining real influence, not just the silliness that Klout tracks.
GlideIntelligence from Glide Technologies
GlideIntelligence is an online media monitoring, analysis, and reporting tool that incorporates automated sentiment analysis. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at length with various people at Glide. They have been very forthcoming and transparent and are all smart and very research savvy. I haven’t spent any time at the controls of this tool yet, nor do I know anyone who has actually used it for clients. But I’m extremely impressed so far. Can’t wait to see this in action.
Yes, we here at KDPaine & Partners helped in the development of this powerful new tool, and we will soon be using it for our own clients. (I'd give it the Grand Prize if I could, but our conflict of interest means I've got to give it its own award category instead.) Five years ago, when I first asked Santa to bring me a truly integrated measurement tool, this is the product I had in mind. It’s the best thing to come down the pike in a long time. I am, however, well aware that for many of our readers it isn’t appropriate, necessary, or affordable. But ultimately, SAS’s approach is what social marketers and PR people have been waiting for.
WhichTestWon.com from Anne Holland Ventures
WhichTestWon.com is a free, fun, and educational learning tool that promotes the rational logic of measurement in the most forthright way: by testing variations in the design of marketing materials in side-to-side comparisons and rating them on their results. WhichTestWon.com measures what people actually do—not just what they like, or say they like. These tests demonstrate the importance of surprisingly subtle and counter-intuitive design decisions. These tests are also the embodiment of simple, elegant measurement as applied to difficult decisions.
The entire WhichTestWon.com site it is a tool to help you learn about testing and testing vendors. They have relaunched in the past month, with a new Testing Technology Buyer’s Guide and other new features. WhichTestWon.com exemplifies empiricism applied to marketing decisions. We should all use such concrete data to make such concrete decisions.
Katie Delahaye Paine is CEO of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements.