Making Social Audience Measurement Add Up

Tania%20YukiTania Yuki, CEO of Shareablee, the social media measurement and analytics company she founded in 2013, offers insights on how to set standards of social-audience measurement, how “off” numbers are now and which metrics matter most. (Shareablee is presenting a free webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 31, “Measuring What Matters in Social Media 2017.”  For details go here.)

 Cynopsis: What is the biggest obstacle to precise social-audience measurement right now?

Tania Yuki: There’s so much confusion, and we need a single voice to understand what is most important – lack of consensus and currency is killing our industry right now. To get there, researchers must be very transparent about what’s being measured and how it’s calculated so marketers can make the right decisions. Social is so specialized it can sometimes be hard for marketers to know what to ask.To know what they don’t know about methodology and pick the strengths and weaknesses of the providers out there so that they can make decisions with confidence.

There’s also still a legacy focus of reporting on big numbers, such as fans and followers. The numbers look good and make us feel good but don’t give us an accurate picture regarding people who care about a company or TV shows. It needs to be the exact representation of what people are focused on and what the real audiences are. Our whole industry must get behind this definition.

Another obstacle is visibility across platforms – it’s still hard to get a unified view across all of them, as well as across multiple pages on a single platform. People are simply adding uniques without de-duplicating them, which creates even more problems down the line.

Cynopsis: What can be done to set standards of measurement?

Yuki: Bringing key leaders to the table from the publisher, agency and advertiser side is the place to start – to agree on a currency everyone is comfortable with. We also need to uncouple the performance component from the measurement component. When people talk about social-audience measurement, they ask about ROI. But first you need to learn how to count what you’re getting and then, of what was counted, how good is the information?

Cynopsis: How “off” do you estimate audience numbers are now?

Yuki: There really are no audience numbers, or they’re not being reported now. It’s why measuring the unique engaged audience is so important. If I compare the numbers of unique people who engaged with a TV show versus the numbers of people who merely opted in by “liking” it, perhaps years ago when it first premiered—the numbers are orders of magnitude different. It’s a misrepresentation in the hundreds of percentage points. But a real number does exist, and it’s not an estimate.

Cynopsis: What misperceptions about measurement exist?

Yuki: The biggest misperception is that measurement can answer questions that you’re not asking. People often confuse insights with measurement. They confuse business outcomes with measurement. It’s not a silver bullet but it’s a critical step in the pathway of knowing what’s right for your business. Measurement is only as good as the questions you ask of it.

Cynopsis: Which metrics matter most, and do they vary from one business to another?

Yuki: Let’s say we’re in the lead up to a new TV season premiere. I’d be looking very closely at the number of people indicating interest and intent to tune in and who are commenting and sharing video interstitials following the first airing of an episode. Focus on the quality of the consumer interactions—how loyal are they to this show versus everything else they can spend their time on. Will they share about the show with friends and family? The currency metrics you should be looking at are the unique engaged audiences, and how willing people are to go out to bat for you with their friends and family.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com. 

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