Dear Santa: Here’s My Measurement Christmas List

dear-santa-mugDear Santa,

First of all, thank you very, very much for delivering on so many of my wishes over the past few years. In 2013 I wished for an integrated dashboard platform, and just introduced one. Last year I wished for an ROI replacement app, and Proof is now it. So I’m eternally grateful to you and the elves for working so hard. 🙂 🙂 🙂

As you know 2016 has been an exciting year. Here at Paine Publishing we managed to survive Measurement Base Camp, the Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement, the Olympics, the worst drought to hit New England in decades, and of course the eight-letter word no one wants to mention that starts with e and ends with n. (If you’re thinking dirty thoughts, it has to do with politics not sex.)

I’ve been trying to be a nice girl, really. But sometimes it’s tough to wear a Nasty Woman t-shirt and be nice at the same time. Through it all I’ve strived to reduce my Pouting Score, which says a lot in these times. I trust you’ll excuse my brief forays into naughty territory, because, well, as a professional provocateur, I can’t help myself. (Besides, all those Measurement Menaces really deserved it.)

I hope you see fit to increase my Net Present Score, because I could really use some of these measurement gifts right now:

1. An Instant Fact-O-Matic

A “Fact or Fiction” widget that pops up on any Facebook post, Tweet, or web page that says that a fact checker has validated whatever headline or claim the poster is trying to make. Sure, it might wreak havoc on people who put out BS press releases, but the overall improvement in confidence in what we’re reading will be worth it.

2. A way to measure Snapchat

Snapchat is the favorite shiny new object these days, with everyone from the White House to Olympic athletes telling their stories via snaps and in the process building huge followings. As brands jump on board and the ad revenues increase, demands to measure it are mounting. But at the moment there is no API or other automated way of measuring it.

3. A “Click Here For Insight” button on every communications report

I have seen far too many reports this year that contain a ton of data, very pretty charts, some interesting tables, and not one whit of insight. I fantasize about installing a “Click Here For Insight” button on every one of them. It would link directly to my email or cell phone so I could talk to the long-suffering manager or communications professional who is trying to glean some meaning from all that data. Think of it as the measurement equivalent of those annoying sales assistants that pop up incessantly on whatever website you’re perusing for information.

4. A Bernie Sanders of measurement

Santa, you probably see this all the time. There are some kids out there who would be thrilled to death with a box of crayons for Christmas, and then there are others that will demand a new iPhone 7. Communications pros tend to be the same way about measurement. There are some that are embracing the new AMEC Framework, and spending lots of money on the latest tools to get the data that they need to fill out all the boxes. And then there’s the vast majority who are still counting placements and likes.

In some ways it’s not unlike the perception gaps that have emerged from the Brexit vote and our own elections. The Measurati, myself included, tend to forget just how basic most measurement needs are. I watch all those cool case studies at PR measurement conferences—and applaud at the great impact metrics they demonstrate. But we forget that their monthly measurement budget is bigger than entire annual marketing budget for most organizations.

What’s needed here isn’t a better cheaper tool. Rather we need a more populist approach and understanding on the part of the makers of these tools. Why stuff them full of functionality that is light years beyond what the average person needs?

5. A better alternative for how journalists talk about the quantity of earned media

I can’t fault IQMedia from a publicity standpoint—their press release on the earned media value of Trump’s coverage certainly got them a lot of pick up (of course, if it didn’t translate into any business it’s all worthless). That said, I got another ulcer every time I saw it used, since it was based on AVEs, and only actually reflected television air time.

Seriously Santa, can’t you come up with a better alternative?

6. Standards for automated emoji metrics 

Every year brings a new way of expressing ourselves, and this year’s biggies were Facebook Reactions and emojis. We know how to measure them, and vendors are adding them to their offerings, but there is no agreement, or even a discussion about standards for how to evaluate them. Santa, please intervene!

7. Standard protocols for navigating social listening and PR measurement platforms

In the past year, as I create more and more integrated dashboards, I find myself working with more and more tools including:

  • Cision
  • Meltwater
  • Trackmaven
  • Talkwalker
  • Trendkite
  • Social Studio
  • Sprout Social
  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud
  • Simply Measured
  • Coremetrics
  • Survata
  • Survey Monkey

Every single one of them approaches navigation slightly differently. As a result I have to spend hours familiarizing myself with each one the moment I switch projects. It’s particularly annoying because, most of the time, all I’m really trying to do is export data into an Excel spreadsheet so I can analyze more than one data set at a time. Santa, what I really need is a standard interface that reduces the learning time.

Thank god there are now tools like, Proof, Tableau, Qlik, and Watson Analytics, among others, that are designed to braid data from all these different tools together.

Thank you, Santa.

Yours truly,


(Thanks to 365 in love for the image.)

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.