Factiva Social Media Roundtable helps to answer “What should we measure”

Last night, Factiva hosted a group of Social Media Practitioners, Bloggers, Corporate Program Managers, PR consultants, room in Palo Alto to try to make sense of Social Media Measurement. Most agreed measurement is important, After last night, we’re a little bit closer, the details of the findings are below.

Background Information

  • I’m a former customer of Factiva, I suggested they progress their offerings to better measure CGM/Social/New Media, this event is a response to that discussion.
  • Those that attended already are thought and practice leaders the audience was not the uninitiated.
  • Metrics of last era to don’t apply to Social Media, I believe that a new way of measuring will come about.
  • Social Media is complex, complicated, and filled with nuances, as it mirrors or extends ‘real’ life, we will never be able to fully measure and categorize, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
  • It’s important to note the following:
    • 1) Social Media is about people. People connecting to other people to build better relationships, fostering communities and increasing collective knowledge. (I enjoy Brian’s blast at SMO tactics losing focus)
    • 2) Measurement and Metrics are one way to help to tell the story of Social Media


  • It was assumed the folks in the room all ‘get’ social media, we were not here to answer “Why” or “What” but extending the conversation to how.
  • A healthy cross section of our ecosystem was present: Social Media practitioners, Folks at Corporations that actually deal/deploy/monitor Social Media, PR companies that ‘get it’, Bloggers, Social Media Consultants (like myself), and Factiva who is a vendor that measures media. We separated this into three distinctions: Companies, Consultants and Vendor
  • Most people thought measurement was important to some degree, although one noble corporate blogger is just focused on reaching and connecting to customers to build better products.
  • I quoted the meme by Steve Rubel (I incorrectly thought it was Winer) that Page Views are dead.
  • Although I suspect we were all thinking the same thing, It was very difficult for us to verbally agree to terms that would encompass the attributes we wanted to measure.
  • Measurement depends on what the business goals are. Some folks tied measurement back to hard ROI: (Does Social Media shorten the sales cycle/reduce cost, and does it increase revenues). For other companies, business blogging is about thought leadership, or building better products, how could you apply these models to the Wells Fargo blogs, that are designed at reaching out to communities?
  • Zibibo in Palo Alto was a fine venue, the food was amazing, the atmosphere perfect for conversation.
  • Some may questions should we measure at all? Corporations need to measure.
  • People place different values on attributes. We allowed guests to prioritize their measurement needs, we separated the voting by Business Corporation vs Consultants/Bloggers vs Vendor. The results are here
  • Glenn conducted some breakout sessions, a variety of findings from groups emerged, I’m hoping they, or scriber Jeremy Pepper will publish their findings.
  • Criticisms: One PR consultant privately pulled me aside and had just concerns that if a company does create such an index it should not be hoarded for raw corporate profit, it should be a community resource, perhaps open source.

Exercise: What attributes should be measured, and which are the most important

Left: The group exercise yielded this prioritized list of Social Media Attributes to be measured.

I leveraged this exercise from former colleague Mary Eileen, it’s also an Information Architecture exercise. I’ve performed similar card sorting exercises before to help determine content priorities for websites.

Attendees were encouraged to voice attributes that were important to measure, they were then grouped and refined.

Roles were broken down into three segments Corporation, (blue dots) Consultant (red dots) and Vendor (yellow dots) and then asked to vote by placing dots on attributes. (see this voting on this page and this page)

There were more Consultants than any other group, followed by Corporations, and Vendor category only had two voters

Each attendee was given three dots of the same color and then voted.

Although not fully scientific, the thought leaders present voted on which attributes should be measured and then prioritized, in priority it yielded the following list:

  • 1) Participation and Engagement (Voted 14 times)
    • Corporate folks voted for this as the most important
    • They wanted to know how are marketers interacting with them, is this quality?
  • 2) Influential Ideas: Memes, and their intensity over time (Voted 11 times)
    • Consultants voted this as the most important to them
    • This could make sense as PR is traditionally hired because of ability to spread message, is this mass?
  • 3) Relevance (Voted 8 times)
    • Does this mean the long tail matters?
  • 4) Sentiment/Tone/Opinion/Favorability/Emotion (Voted 8 times)
    • Factiva product team this the most important to them
  • 5) Content (Voted 6 times)
  • 6) Relationships and Connections (Voted 5 times)
  • 7) Analytics and Activity (Voted 4 times)
  • 8) Community Activation or Call to Action (Voted 3 times)
  • 9) Reach (Voted 2 times)
    • Does this mean a-listers are less relevant?
  • 10) Tied: Conversation Index/Engagement (Voted 1 times)
  • 10) Tied: Demographic/Who (Voted 1 times)
    • Some were surprised the “Who” was not voted as high. Does this mean that if anyone is engaged in the conversation then they are influential and part of the market? Cluetrain supports this as anyone conversing is in your market. Thereby, those that participate matter.

More Background info of Social Media Measurement
Factiva is a company owned by Dow Jones, and does a great job at measuring EGM/Traditional/Old/Oneway/Broadcast media. Like most measurement companies, they’re making advances to learn about Social Media. Clients are asking more and more about what is it, (although it varies in understanding) measuring the impacts of blogs, wikis, social sites, podcasts and whatever comes next will be needed. At the time when this discussion started, I was a customer of their product. It didn’t meet my full needs in measuring CGM. Since leaving my previous company and joining Podtech as a Social Media consultant this quest to understand Social Media Measurement is perhaps even more important

Factiva listens
Daniela Barbosa, a Factiva employee has really been reaching out to this new medium at a pretty traditional company. She really deserves the praise of her colleagues, the social media community and most importantly, customers. As a former customer of Factiva, Daniela would read my blog daily, and responded in comments, her blog and even using YouTube. Additional Kudos should be delivered to the product team, Glenn, Saurabh for reaching back, listening and trying to understand this new market to build a better product. For those within Factiva and Dow Jones, please learn from what this team has done. Factiva, is a company that listens to the market and to it’s customers.

Additional Resources

Disclosure of some sorts
As a Web Strategist this is a passion topic to me, my participation was voluntary and unpaid/ They did treat me to a few wonderful meals, and presented me and other guests with an iPod shuffle (which ended up going to the wife anyways). It’s likely I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned with Podtech customers, but I also blog my findings to better the community.

This is just the start
By no means is this the definite answer, and the methodology and process was not scientific. This is just one data point in a fast changing, amorphous, barely defined medium, more on this soon.

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