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Social Media: Is it Measurable?

By John Shelton May 20, 2010 | 10:26am

I attended The Cable Show recently in Los Angeles.  Among the many great points discussed at the conference were Social Media and its impact on advertising.  We use various forms of social media here at STRATA in our marketing efforts, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn just to name a few.  We aren’t alone either, hundreds of thousands of businesses use social media to connect to their clients, customers and prospects. 

One big question that was addressed at The Cable Show concerning social media was how do you truly measure the impact of a social media campaign?  Jay Byrne of vFluence Interactive talked about his three considerations for success - Visibility, Usability, Measurability.  The first two – Visibility and Usablity are pretty straight forward.  But the third is where the largest issue lies.  Even more to that point, are followers or “Likes” more important than more tangible measures like subscribers and audience?  That’s tough and I know it depends on the desired outcome (brand awareness vs. selling a product).

Yes, it is important to have your targeted audience view your message.  But on the other hand, how can you measure the impact?  Are they just clicking on “Fan” or “Like” and not truly receiving your message?  One thing is for sure, people are rolling the dice regardless.

In our recent quarterly survey of media buying agencies, social media accounted for 60.7% of the respondents interactive spend.  87.5% say they are most likely to use Facebook in their client’s campaigns (followed by Twitter at 57.1%).   With the influx of social media entering into marketing and advertising planning, how can you ultimately say that one campaign is more successful than the other?  How can you truly compare that spend on social media against a cable ad or TV ad?  The answer to that question is being debated this week and the one thing that is for certain, the answer has to come quickly.

This topic will continue to be in the forefront.  As they stated at The Cable Show:  Cable operators and programmers see the shifting future of communications and the growing need to go where their customers are to make their case.  That place is largely social media.

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