Social Media Metrics, Privacy and Vendor Relationship Management (VRM)


OK, so firstly apologies for the mouthful of a title, but I have just finished reading an inspiring book – Social Media Marketing: How Data Analytics Helps to Monetize the User Base in Telecoms, Social Networks, Media and Advertising, in a Converged Ecosystem (phew!) – which covers these topics and I wanted to share my thoughts on the above.

There are a number of things to be considered when talking on the subject of marketing in the social web. Firstly that advertising, as a subset of marketing, should not always be conducted (accurately or successfully).

There are a number of plus points to this, least of all for all you Bill Hicks fans out there, in that (speaking as a Generation X’er) I expect the least intrusion possible when I am interacting with friends and family.

I guess this is where true definitions of marketing and advertising come in to play, and where the boundaries of activity within social networks become blurred: at what stage am I ready to accept advertising, or proactively engage with marketing?

The next subject to mention is Mobile. I don’t know why but I still see mobile as a separate channel. As a device it’s easy to segregate. But the book quite rightly places it at the centre of social media as it is this ultimately personal device that provides true personalisation (from a targeting point of view) and portability.

So – measurement. Well, here we are 10 years down the line from the first social networks and we still haven’t been able to agree on a native metric! I’m a staunch advocate of Will McInness and his efforts with Measurement Camp, which encourages digital marketers to come together to share collective experiences, but it still leaves me wanting. Where is the IAB when it’s needed!

It seems like the whole industry is waiting for someone/everyone to say “OK here is all my private data, do with it what you will” (VRM), but it’s just not going to happen (yet). Until we are able to create digital marketing plans targeting campaigns to individuals in their social networks based on their own data no body will stand up and be up to the job.

I’ve seen plenty of case studies. Notably those that tie in standard advertising/marketing metrics, to make it easier for the traditional marketing director to swallow (iCrossing’s Toyota IQ blog launch), studies that just count everything (Made By Many’s Amnesty Interntional, International Women’s Day campaign), attempts at capitalising on ‘Alpha users’ in networks to return new metrics such as Cost Per Relevant Audience, Forrester’s Engagement Metrics, and I like them all.

And perhaps that’s the problem – maybe someone needs to try retrofitting each metric back into each case study to see which one works for all, then ‘if the shit fits’ we can all wear it!

I guess my frustration is a sign of my longevity in digital, but I shouldn’t forget the old adage – “make hay while the sun shines”. And this is why I love what I do so much: we are living through an amazing pioneering age in digital, one without boundaries and very few controls, one that will inevitably, eventually, be controlled and more strictly governed.

I just pray that the simple freedom and enjoyment from publishing one’s thoughts as a blog post will never be taken away… look out world here comes another one!! …click!

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