Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst, eMarketer put the question of “How do we get to good, solid metrics of social media and advertisers?” to a panel of two metrics providers and a digital PR exec at Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit. Assessing the state of the industry’s progress on developing good metrics, James Lamberti, SVP, search and technology for comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), gives the industry a “5” out of 10. But Steve Rubel, SVP/director of insights at Edelman Digital grades the industry with a minus-2, adding “we’ve gone backwards. There’s no standard. The TV screen has a number. A dollar is a dollar. Having a standard makes transactions work. IAB has been moving slowly, fearing, justifiably, that if they come down from Mt. Sinai with two tablets offering a Ten Commandments of metrics, they worry that things could change in six months and render any standard useless. Because there are no standards, all agencies are speaking different languages and no one has an answer.
Don Springer, president and CEO of social metrics company Collective Intellect, was naturally more sanguine: “We’re at an experimentation stage. I agree standards can help simplify things, but I see clients getting enormous lift to their ROI. We do have solid ways of measuring and presenting metrics that can provide tremendous insights.” But to Rubel, these insights are not good enough unless they can be compared fairly equally. “There are two parts. The insights part is great. But then there is the metrics. And at the end of the day, how do you know what ‘good’ is? How do we know what ‘tall’ is? Collaboration and action… Engagement is a gray area. I don’t know why. If I had an answer, i’d be richer than Mark Cuban.”