It’s been a week of social metrics and measurement for me.

On day one of this week’s Social Media World Forum, held at Olympia in London, I sat in no less than four different sessions on measuring the value of social.

Another discussion this morning, hosted by Waggener Edstrom on social advertising, took a similar line.

I thought it might be helpful to collate some of the quotes, learnings and case studies that were mentioned, to act as further reading or perhaps inspire new models for social media measurement.

Allister Frost, head of digital marketing strategy at Microsoft

“In terms of social data, we’ve moved beyond measuring numbers and actions. Do that by all means – but it’s easy – the real value lies in getting business-minded people to apply econometric modelling and work out what to do with it.”

“I’d like to see Facebook implement a ranking system for ‘likes’, based on new levels of value – maybe tailored to each brand.”

Patrick Salyer, CEO at Gigya

“It’s not necessary to change ALL of your success metrics. Socialising your site by allowing sharing etc. increases traffic, conversions & affects existing measurements. This helps people understand in terms they already know.”

Reggie Bradford, CEO at Vitrue

“There has to be consistency in measurement. It can’t just be about digital, you have to get all your teams together and create unified metrics that everyone agrees on. Otherwise you’re at odds before you’ve even started looking at the data.”

Cathy Ma, head of social media at IPC Media

“The holy grail of social media is where business objectives meets user needs and platform/technical capabilities”

“Your three core metrics are: acquisition (cost per acquisition), retention (engagement metrics) and monetisation (value of conversation)”

“In terms of acquisition: Google Analytics’ new social media data allows you to track which channels are bringing you new customers, so use it to plan where to spend your time. Then iterate and improve using creative technqiues, and play around with Facebook’s Open Graph to extend this. Newsfeed is a great asset.”

“In terms of retention and acqusition: Work out how social media helps, use this post on Occam’s Razor as a model, track against your competitors.”

“Remember that not everything can be measured. You can’t teach someone to be charming, sometimes people just are. This covers research & development, and customer insight.”

Cathy’s full presentation here

Alasdair Townsend, business strategy director at Onlinefire

“Brand expectations are severely influenced by big name case studies, don’t use those as a benchmark because each company’s measurements are individual and appropriate to their own marketing strategies.” 

Bryan Tookey, COO at Brandwatch

“Are you being talked about within social media already? Do you have the ears of people within the organisation that will listen when you go to them with social data? Then it’s worth monitoring the socil space.”

Julie Atherton, planning director at Indicia

 “If you remember one thing, tie your social metrics to business objectives. Otherwise the work you do is useless.”

Tac Anderson, VP, head of digital strategies EMEA at Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D

“Social advertising can add weight, and numbers, to a social campaign in a way that raises the profile of your work and maximises its value. It’s not just about volume, you still have to have a great strategy and authentic content at the heart – but Facebook’s targeting features means you can actually do both. Reach bigger numbers of a very specific type of person.”

Tim Gould, marketing manager at Casio UK

“B2C and B2B metrics should be different. A consumer facing campaign can produce huge levels of engagement, and potential customers for your pipeline. A B2B one is much more focused and targeted – and so smaller numbers can be just as effective. Managign ex[ectation from a board level means you don’t trip yourself up when doing one or the other.”

Plus some, thoughts from me:

  • eBay’s Sudha Jamthe wrote a great piece on GigaOm last month on key social metrics, which supports Cathy’s suggestions above. He includes: social media revenue conversion, which measures how many people become customers through social media referral channels. Facebook engagement, which measures a brand’s ability to communicate successfully with their customers on the social network, and social customer support metrics – which measures the impact of customer support on brand health and the cost of staffing a social support programme.
  • IBM’s just released a really interesting report called From Social Media To Social CRM (covered here by Ron Shevlin), which includes a diagram on the disconnect between why people connect with brands in social – and why brands think it happens.
  • The Social Media Research Foundation released interesting findings at the Local Social Summit last November, focusing on a tool called NodeXL that uses Excel spreadsheets to allow anyone who has data on people talking about something in the social space to create a map of the relationships between them.
  • NextAnalytics is another spreadsheet-based tool that allows Excel to build and distribute custom social reports, search marketer Ann Smarty also wrote a great overview of measurement spreadsheets last month.
  • iProspect has created a Facebook Engagement Index that combines the number of “likes” a brand has with data from the “people talking about this” metric. It’s not perfect, but it’s an up-to-date initial benchmark for larger brands.
  • first direct is writing up its experience evaluating the value of PR and social for us, in which it’s using a model borrowed from the public sector.