Alternative (Social) Engagement Metrics in 2008

Posted: December 18, 2007 in Content, Data Driven, Emerging Media, Interoperability, Marketing Links, Metrics & measurement, Social Media, The Marketing Industry
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What is a common media key performance indicator equivalent to generating 50,000 friends on MySpace or Facebook?1,000 Digg’s? 5,000 comments on YouTube? An SEO friendly Wikipedia entry? 10,000 widget feeds?

These are the new metrics of the social media age. If you are a traditional media planner or buyer (or client) still trying to wrap your head around the comparison of traditional media metrics to digital media metrics – hold on to your hats, you’re in for an interesting ride. It’s difficult enough to explain why digital media not only belongs in the media mix, but on the same master flow chart as all other media, and differently.

Ah, the good ol’ GRP – a proxy metric, essentially used to predict a marketing and/or business outcome based on a specific media weight against a particular broadly defined demographic target. Digital media breaks the mold, and the GRP does not accurately depict digital media impact. Lower frequency is needed to generate advertising impact, engagement and/or response. Likewise, engagement levels are not factored into the GRP calculation.

So as a slough of social actions become part of the engagement measures of digital campaign performance, there are more variables and therefore more differences. Even the most seasoned digital media executives are currently faced with the challenge of measuring, determining and explaining comparative performance differences inclusive of these measures.

Digital media represents a movement up the qualitative media continuum. This continuum goes something like: print (text), radio (audio), black & white television (video), color television (quality multimedia), the Internet (engaging quality multimedia with consumer control).

2008 will be an explosive year for social media and in particular, social networks. There is far more to the social structure of the web than just the social nets. We will rely more and more on the social fabric of the evolving web itself to help good ideas and relevant content and/or brand experiences match interested and appreciative consumers. 

So as many continue to try to fit the square peg of digital media into the round hole of the GRP…the peg just morphed into an octagon.


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