The Paine of Measurement
’Tis that time of year when us measurement pundits put our necks and reputations on the line. We gleefully predict the future, knowing full well that half of what we write is wishful thinking and the other half is a random toss towards the dartboard of communications history. The hazards of forecasting include more than just the possibility of getting something wrong. Another is that you often look back on your past predictions and realize how slowly change happens, and how little our business has advanced. For x!#@$ sake we are still talking about bleeping AVEs—after all this time?!
To write this issue each year, I spend some time in a wine-soaked and dreamy haze, imagining a perfect measurement world unfolding over the next 12 months. But the perfect never happens; I am inevitably catapulted back into the harsh reality of the endless fight against stupid metrics. 2019 will no doubt have at least some of that, too. (In fact, I was just asked to judge a prestigious award program’s social media category. Their definition of results: “social analytics.” No reference to goals, objectives, outcomes, or business value anywhere! I’d give them our Measurement Menace award but they do enough other good things for our industry to absolve them of their sins. I did however, turn down their request.)
So in this issue you’ll see a vision of measurement in 2019 filtered through the lens of 32-years of measurement, a prior career in journalism and flavored with a hefty dose of the natural skepticism that experience begets. But, still, I am optimistic.
Predictions from Myself and the Measurati
The biggest prediction I have is that 2019 will be the year that all the consolidation and acquisition activity of the last few years will come to fruition and begin to truly make measurement more useful, easier, and meaningful. Major progress has been made to augment traditional word monitoring and Boolean searches with machine learning and visual identification. Even more impressive, there’s progress towards being able to filter out bots and fake news accounts. Adding nuance to sentiment scores and real user data to how you calculate reach are two major AI-driven additions you’ll see add to media evaluation in 2019. More on that in: Katie Paine’s Measurement Industry and Technology Forecast
But 2019 won’t only be about how we measure, It will bring a complete rethinking of what is is we are measuring. Read about that here: Forecast for 2019.Katie Paine’s Measurement Predictions for 2019.
And lest you think I’m the only prognosticating measurement pundit out there, we also talk to a pretty wide assortment of folks, some of whom have far more wisdom than I. You can read their insights here: Predictions for 2019 from the Measurement Experts.
Choosing a Measurement Vendor
One of my predictions is that, if you’re reading this, chances are good that sometime in 2019 you will be in the process of, or at least considering, hiring a measurement vendor. So you won’t want to miss: 8 Quick Tips for Finding the Perfect Communications Measurement Vendor in 2019.
My regular readers will be surprised to learn that I’m actually very encouraged by the progress measurement suppliers are making towards better metrics and better ways to measure the various components of communications. So much so that I had to update our Vendor Selection Chart just for the occasion: Paine Publishing’s 2019 Vendor Selection Guide: 12 Common Measurement Needs and the Best Vendors that Satisfy Them.
Where Are the Women in Measurement? The MeasHERment Manifesto
I’m less impressed by most vendors’ complete retreat in terms of gender equality on their leadership teams. In the early days of measurement there were probably more women-owned measurement companies than those run by men. Today there’s nary a one. Read more on this at: The MeasHERment Manifesto: Where Are the Women in Communications Measurement?
As you might gather, I’m on a tear on this subject. As a result, we at TMA have decided to roll out a new column in 2019, The MeasHERment Interview, featuring regular chats with prominent female measurement mavens. The first in this series is with Johna Burke: The MeasHERment Interview: Johna Burke Talks About Her New Job at AMEC, Meeting Engelbert Humperdinck, Meditation, and Choosing Happiness.
Improve Your Writing
And finally, writing is a vital skill for all of us in communications and measurement. So we are very pleased to welcome back a regular column by writing guru Daphne Gray-Grant. Over the years she’s taught us a great many lessons, the latest of which is: 5 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Reading It Aloud. ∞