September 19, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Measuring the New Social World

Measuring the New Social World

Accurately measuring the value of the buzz around your company may sound as difficult as weighing the morning fog, but it has made for
some unique partnerships over the past few weeks. Meanwhile, there are companies ready to measure things that sound as intangible as hugs and the shadows of rainbows: namely the behaviors, attitudes, and opinions of visitors on a web site.

Conversations about companies happen every day. This buzz happens about local and international companies alike. They happen in person, on the phone and now even quicker on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This week, the Nielsen Company and Facebook partnered to introduce Nielsen BrandLift “to help marketers better use the Internet to develop and market new products,” according to a Nielsen press release.

If a Facebook user opts-in to this program, it will measure “aided awareness, ad recall, message association, brand favorability and purchase consideration via a set of short, specially designed one or two question surveys. The surveys collect the information marketers need as a seamless part of the Facebook user experience.”

Let me explain a new concept which was once the marketer’s Holy Grail: psychographic data elements. These are your attitudes, opinions, interests and values. We really haven’t gotten good at mining them yet, but this is what this merger may try to do. Facebook already has the ability to capture additional information you’ve already agreed to share in their Terms of Service. Think of what you have already shared: political preferences, likes and dislikes, food preferences, when you’re sick, predispositions to anything and everything.

Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDnet accurately sliced the benefits: “Nielsen gets a fun data set to analyze; Facebook can use Nielsen’s data crunching expertise to improve ad effectiveness; And you get to [be] part of that social media/consumer attitude data set.”

When all the datasets are merged and correctly correlated, you will see more pertinent content at just the right time than ever before.  Facebook advertisers will start marketing to “You” as an individual rather than you as a member of your very large and somewhat random age and regional demographic.

Elsewhere… Measurement in a Flash …

Web measurement giant Omniture recently announced that it will be acquired by Adobe, the owner of Flash and a wide variety of web publication tools. Many of these were picked up during their acquisition of Macromedia a few years ago.

Flash is what is YouTube and many other sites use to stream video. Many mobile device platforms now have Adobe Flash support, with the  notable exceptions of the Apple iPhone and RIM Blackberry smart phones. The rumor is out there that RIM and Adobe have reached terms to add Flash support to the Blackberry devices in the future.

The big picture makes this acquisition important: There are thousands mobile platforms around the world. Measuring mobile web usage in the same way we measure web sites is nearly impossible today. This makes it hard to know where mobile web users are having problems (and successes). Developing metrics using Adobe Flash instead of JavaScript to measure user behaviors will result in more precise and certainly more standardized measurements. That means it will be easier to sell the mobile web to advertisers for highly-targeted customers.

For regular phone users, this will mean more features and functions that will continue to make feature-laden smart phones the “gotta have” device for everyone.

Recently, Omniture started adding social media interaction measurements as a new option, making it even more appealing. Some users I have spoken with said it still “new,” but delivering some very useful information. The opportunities for both partnerships are obvious and huge.

If you haven’t started to use social media, it may be time, or to paraphrase the great “Music Man,” Professor Harold Hill:

“Ladies and gentlemen, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by…” ignoring social media as part of your business plan.

Remember: There WAS a band. Don’t let the parade pass you by!

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