Durham, New Hampshire — On October 27-29th the annual Measurement Summit and Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave was hosted by Katie Delahaye Paine at her home in Durham, NH. The attendants were a diverse group; 30 year-olds, 60 year-olds, Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders, professors, VPs, and specialists wearing everything from suits to hockey jerseys. Nearly 35 people mingled over home-cooked food, lobsters, steamed clams, and imported wine, munching on M&Ms as they discussed all things measurement.
The first day of the two-day event had several speakers come forward with presentations on big data, new social media modeling tools, and the fundamentals of good business measurement. Mary Miller, former head of PublicAffairs Center of Excellence for AbbVie, a 65-billion pharma company, gave the crowd a detailed history of her experience implemeting a new standards-compliant measurement program. Hearing first hand the trials and tribulations of implenting the standards was an eye-opening lesson.
On the final day, Conclave members came together to update and discuss changes in the SMMS standards. One of the more interesting topics discussed was Twitter handles for brands. The question raised was how should a parent company (for instance, PepsiCo) decide when a specific product or division (Mountain Dew, Pepsi) should have a separate Twitter handle? This is a real problem for many companies. If you only have one handle you could be missing out; people might be more inclined to follow products than the parent company. Going back to the soda example, Mountain Dew currently has 40,430 Twitter followers, while PepsiCo only has 15,569. However, the problem with having Twitter handles for everything is that before long it becomes impossible to manage and coordinate. Products get discontinued, passwords get lost and it’s nigh impossible to shut down a defunct account. Plus, having all those handles could drive traffic away from the parent company.
After some discussion, the best practice decided upon was that companies should develop their own clear standards as to when a brand or division gets its own Twitter handle. It was also recommended that policy be set for transfer of account ownership should the person running the handle leave. That way there will always be a clear record of who’s running each account.
Another topic was attention metrics. Several companies (most notably Facebook) have started using measures of attention to determine if a user is engaging with a site or media. Attention uses various methods to determine if a user is actively engaging with a page: Mouse movement, if the page is pulled up or has been minimized, how long a video has been playing, etc.
One of the things Conclave members discussed was the interaction between paid and earned content as it relates to increasing engagement. The problem found with earned content (content written about an organization by an unaffiliated party) is that oftentimes the engagement it generates is for the writer of the piece rather than the organization. If a prominent blogger like Chris Brogan writes a post on his Toyota, are readers more likely to engage with the blogger, or directly engage with Toyota? Chances are they’ll go for the personality over an impresonal brand.
Mary Miller’s experience was that promoted Tweets get far more clicks than organic ones, but it was agreed that users generally view organic content as more trustworthy. Conclave members agreed that the best time to use paid content is if you can’t build an audience by organic means. In both cases, analytics and tracking were determined to be the best methods of measuring the effectiveness of the content types.
Six other key decisions were made by the end of the Summit. It was agreed that the Standards should be revised to make it clear that there is no one perfect measure on the horizon. Michael Ziviani (see full story here) inspired us to delve into the area of modeling and social media’s role in the marketing mix. It was agreed to add language to make it clear that this technique isn’t just possible but preferable. The Conclave also agreed to add languge that will better explain what each metric measures and what it doesn’t measure. The rest of the changes are listed here. ∞