Social media may be helping advertising shift away from its focus on measuring ROI solely via quantitative measures. If we’re only looking at clicks or “fans,” then we’re looking at social media through the same lense we use for measuring other (less measurable) forms of media. To this end, The Advertising Research Federation (ARF), along with the ANA and WOMMA in the U.S. are working to create social media measurement guidelines that would take more qualitative measures into account. One of the “fuzziest” social media metrics to measure has to be “influence.”
Razorfish has devised a Social Influence Marketing (SIM) score, looking at both on- and offline share of voice that a brand has, as well as sentiment or likeability of the brand to determine its SIM score. It’s a framework to measure brand health via what’s happening on the social web. According to Razorfish, the SIM score measures two critical attributes: total share of consumer conversations your brand has online; and the degree to which consumers like or dislike your brand when they talk to each other about you online (consumer sentiment). The first is a measure of reach, the second of likeability. The SIM score combines these two attributes to measure favourable impact of a brand.
You can download and see more detail on the SIM score. They worked with TNS Cymfony and The Keller Fay Group to look at online conversation data from brands in four industries (Auto, Finance, Pharmaceuticals, Media), and compared online share of voice and sentiment numbers to each brand’s offline equivalents. Without going through the methodology details (which are included in the report), from this research they created a formula to derive SIM score: Net Sentiment for the Brand/Net Sentiment for the Industry, where Net Sentiment for the Brand (or Industry) equals (Positive + Neutral Conversations – Negative Conversations)/Total Conversions for the brand.
The findings for the Media industry are interesting – the titles/brands included in the study were Glamour, Elle, Essence, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar. The study shows that media brands are typically discussed in a positive light – perhaps because it tends to be the content within the titles that’s discussed, versus the media brands themselves. But there was a low number of conversations for each of the titles measured – from the report: “These low conversation numbers beg the question, why are they so low especially when they are so iconic and a large part of women’s lives?” These results point to an opportunity for these magazines to be more active in the social media space. If you’re a brand that’s relying heavily on magazine coverage and/or advertising, you also at least need to be involved with online publishers who are in the social media space, as well as start to think about your own social media activities, or you’re potentially missing a segment of your market.
I’ll close with the words of , SVP Social Media at the ARF, “Social media is becoming the space where we look closer at relationships and actions to determine behaviors. It’s where influence is an outgrowth of the strength of relationships and connections. And while I strongly believe that numerical data can tell us the story of social media, it only tells us part of the story.”
For more on social media influence, see Digital Chameleon’s Social Media Strategy course.