This post provides background on social media measurement standards, a summary of recent social media standards-related events, and links to some organizations involved. If you want to be included, please leave a comment. (And if you just want to know how to measure social media, then download Katie Paine’s whitepaper “The Social Media Measurement Manifesto: Yes we CAN, and already ARE measuring Social Media.”)
While there are many different ways to measure social media, there are as yet none that very many people agree upon that should become standard across programs or segments of the industry. The state of the art in setting social media measurement standards is that some groups have agreed upon some definitions and goals (see Barcelona and Lisbon, below), some measures have been singled out as definitely not standards (like Facebook Likes and Klout scores), but there are no specific metrics that are industry standards yet.
Keep in mind that there are a great many different persons and organizations working to develop social media measurement standards, and that everything about the subject — from the data, to the media themselves, to the organizations and their motivations — are complex and in a state of flux. (The illustration to the right gives you an idea of this complexity, it was used to help organize The Conclave, see below.)
What is clear, however is that social media measurement standards are necessary (read Katie Paine’s “The Four Big Reasons Why We Need Social Media Standards,” also David Geddes’ recent post on the IPR site “Framework, Standards, and Metrics: PR Research Priorities Part 2). As things stand now, there are so many vendors measuring and defining social media in so many different ways, that clients often don’t know the best tool for the job, or who to trust to provide it.
The Bottom Line is the Bottom Line
For the measurement industry, the bottom line on standards is really the bottom line: The sooner the measurement industry can adopt standard practices for social media measurement, the sooner it can start providing more services for more clients. With standards in place, the industry will be less fragmented, more confident of its products, and more useful to its clients. And it will do more business.
Social Media Measurement Standards Events: What's Happened So Far?
-- Major International Measurement Summits in Barcelona (2010) and Lisbon (2011) reached consensus on basic principles of measurement. The 7 Barcelona Principles act as a statement of global good practice in for public relations measurement in general. For more on the Barcelona Principles, read “The Barcelona Principles Checklist.” (Thanks to Ketchum’s Perspective for the illustration).
One of the top four action points that resulted from the Lisbon Summit was to create and adopt global standards for social media measurement. Read more at “2011 Lisbon Conference Early Returns: Slides, Summaries, and Voting Results.” To the right is a video with some background on setting standards from the Lisbon Summit, featuring Katie Paine, Richard Bagnall, and Tim Marklein (all of whom participated in the recent Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave, see below).
-- The Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave occurred on October 25th and 26th, when Katie Paine hosted a dozen social media measurement experts. Read more:
- An introduction to the event and the organizations represented: Setting Social Media Measurement Standards: The Conclave, The Coalition, and The Big Ask
- Some notes during the event: The Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave: Photos and Attendees
- A summary of discussion and results: The Durham Conclave: Our Progress on Setting Social Media Measurement Standards
Organizations Involved in Setting Social Media Measurement Standards
There are several organizations working on setting social media measurement standards:
-- The Internet Advertising Bureau launched a framework for measuring social media in July of 2010, then followed up in February of 2011 with a Social Media Measurement and Intent Guide.
-- CASRO (the Council for American Survey Research Organizations) has just recently issued its Social Media Research Guidelines.
-- The Coalition includes the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), the Council of Public Relations Firms (CPRF), and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR). Their goal is to define, develop, and promote industry-leading standards for the earned media aspect of social media measurement. Read all about it on the IPR website. National or international organizations that want to support the Coalition or contribute their ideas, recommendations, and expertise should contact Barry Leggetter, Executive Director of AMEC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- The WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) has issued guidelines that provide specific best practices on how bloggers, marketers and other who use partipate in social media can be transparent and non-intrusive.
Coming Events in Setting Social Media Measurement Standards
The Big Ask Conference. On November 17th, AMEC is hosting The Big Ask social media measurement conference in London, where it aims to ask PR and media intelligence professionals what they want to see as part of the new global standards.The Coalition will participate in The Big Ask. Visit this site for more information on The Big Ask. --WTP