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altimeter-use-of-social-media-standard-framework-sept11.gifDespite advances in integrating social media into business, a majority of companies surveyed in June 2011 do not have standard frameworks in place to measure its value, according to an August 2011 white paper from Altimeter Group. Data from “A Framework for Social Analytics” indicates only 44% of companies considered advanced in their integration of social media, as well as 26% of intermediate companies and 16% of novice companies, agree they have standard measurement frameworks to help benchmark social media deployments.

However, according to other research conducted by Altimeter Group in late 2010 and early 2011, 82% of corporations expect to have a brand monitoring solution in place this year, while 48% report that their primary internal focus was to develop ROI measurements for social media.

Data Quality, Scalability Key to Social Media Monitoring Tool Selection

In discussions with more than 30 vendors, brands, agencies, and thought leaders in the social media measurement space, Altimeter Group found that nine requirements were most important. They are: data quality (such as keyword-based search or more sophisticated text analytics/natural language processing), scalability, professional services (monitoring/reporting), platform education (online and/or in-person), domain expertise, language support, workflow support, compliance integration, and alerting.

Disparate Sources among Leading Social Data Challenges

Altimeter Group also identifies five key social data challenges, as follows:

1. Disparate Sources: Most brand conversations occur off the main website, outside the reach of traditional web analytics providers. In addition, new apps generate data from an ever-increasing array of sources, each with different characteristics, and social analytics solutions are still new, with few case studies from which to learn.

2. Inconsistent Dataset: Different tools have different filtering capabilities, and solutions can only draw from public Facebook posts to protect privacy. Furthermore, different tools have different access to the Twitter “fire hose,” while crawlers and spam filters also affect dataset results.

3.New Behaviors: Social media creates new behaviors that must be interpreted, and the value must be understood. Examples include a “Like” on Facebook, a re-tweet on Twitter, and a check-in on Foursquare. Answers vary based on industry and business objective.

4.Language Limitations: These include industry terms and jargon, online slang and abbreviations including LOL, OMG, TTYL, ROFL, irony and sarcasm, emoticons, and uneven support for global languages.

5.Different Analytical Approaches by Vendors: Differing approaches to data collection affect results. For example, keyword-based is the simplest and least expensive, but least accurate means of collecting data, while natural language processing and algorithmic approaches are more sophisticated and expensive.

Social Media Business Objectives Simplify Measurement

Altimeter Group advises the four business objectives of brand health, customer experience, innovation, and marketing optimization can help businesses measure their social media effectiveness. Following is a brief definition of each objective.

1.Brand Health: Brand health, a measure of how people feel about, talk about, and act toward a brand, is of primary concern for executives and the most common use case for social data. Applying social insights to a brand can add richness to market research efforts,
help prevent or mitigate crisis, and uncover threats and opportunities.

2.Customer Experience: Social media can have an immediate impact on the customer experience, which leads to multiple additional benefits throughout the organization, such as brand health, cost savings, and increased revenue.

3.Innovation: Companies can derive benefit from monitoring the social web for feedback and ideas that both identify opportunities and reduce risk. The opportunity in social data is to make listening a consistent discipline throughout the organization so that crowdsourced feedback becomes a regular ingredient in the innovation process.

4.Marketing Opportunities: Social media can help marketers learn how their programs perform in the real world, as well as drive decision-making for new content and campaigns. An emerging best practice is to integrate measurement strategy into the initial planning of a campaign to facilitate learning, accountability, and continuous improvement.

Bizo: Social Big Focus for Marketers

Social is an important focus for marketers as they implement their planning for the next twelve months, but many are also doubling down on display, according to a Bizo survey of 520 marketers. When asked which marketing channels they planned to increase focus on over the next 12 months, marketers said social was overwhelmingly the most important (65% ) followed by email (46% ) and content marketing (45%).

Interestingly, the role marketers view social as playing is creating awareness, 41%, followed by reinforcement of other campaigns (26%).

About the Data: Altimeter Group surveyed 144 global corporate strategists in June 2011.

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