[Flickr - HeyThereSpaceman]
My morning was spent at the office of Ketchum Pleon at AMEC’s ‘Big Ask’ Conference; my brief was two-fold. Win hearts and minds with regard to our very exciting new membership structure and in doing so not to make a fool of myself [but more of that later*]. Second and my raison d’être for attending was the opportunity to learn from the experiences of an expert panel of industry leaders discussing setting standards for social media measurement.
This was the launch-pad for a consultation process on social media measurement standards, and follows on from a resolution made at AMEC’s European Summit in Lisbon in June to make the development of global social media measurement standards a priority by 2020. Fundamental stuff.
From a line-up of some cracking speakers there were many fantastic points raised.
Nick Masters, Head of Online at PwC had a tough job following Microsoft’s Pete Devery, hit the proverbial nail on the head. Nick gave a candid view and was brilliantly frank in stating that as a profession we can’t prove any reputational benefits in the social media results we’re currently providing, pointing to the scraps of evidence he attempts to provide in each and every meeting which have no solid data to stand on. To further highlight this point Nick talked of the fact that we can’t currently assimilate where our content ends up, who views it and how this is further distributed through their cohorts. How can we get better at measurement when we don’t know where to find the results? let alone what should be measured?
There was definitely a difference in opinion between the panel and in the audience about the next step forward. Half the room was yet to be convinced by a standardized metrics model, who advocate to measure campaigns using bespoke metrics. There were then those who want further collaboration across the industry to devise a standard measurement model. However, is a common model plausible? Can there be a set of metrics or tools that can be considered as standard when your organization, your stakeholders, your strategy, your tactics are all unique?
For me the Big Ask raised one important resolution, to educate . It is impossible to put an AVE value, or a number, on social media output which gives real meaning, despite the anecdotal revelations revealed by the panel and people I spoke to.
So, what should the resolution be? My hope from the consultation process is that we see a production of a rubber stamp that can be put on a variation of metrics and methods. In particular This is not an industry standard, but a flexible approach that acknowledges that in digital and social campaigns, measurement, forming part of an overall strategy which aligns with business objectives, should be unique and not a one size fits all approach.
*The part on making a fool of myself. I somewhat succeeded on that front. Nonetheless, and take note, never ever, call yourself up-to-speed on all things digital/keen on social media and then forget what you’re twitter handle is. Total. Fail.