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The Great Social Media Metrics Race

July 27, 2009

Hitting a hole-in-one, winning an Oscar, pitching a perfect game, these are all things that many legendary people strive for, but may never reach in their lifetime, no matter how much they put into it. These are the elusive white whales of the particular professions. Right now, the world of marketing has a white whale that it is chasing: Social Media Metrics. And it is a race as to who can not only accurately track the value of online conversation, but apply and monetize it to traditional media as well. Whoever is able to do this will hold a huge advantage, although it may be outlived, because it will open the floodgates for different models.

But this is a white whale that we may actually be able to catch. Recently it has felt like people may be throwing no hitters, just coming up a walk and an error short of the perfect game. But as an industry, we are getting closer. A few studies of late have not been horribly insightful, but show that major players are making the shift to incorporate these metrics in offline media. Social media firm Keller Fay is actively working with CNN and ESPN to track what topics their viewers most often talked about on a daily basis (details here in this article on AdAge). The tracking is being done of all conversations, and is a bold attempt by the Disney Corp to factor in word of mouth to how it attracts advertisers.

This is a very important step in the right direction, because if companies like Disney are pouring money into this, it won’t be long before everyone is making a concerted effort to track down this white whale. When this does happen, it will also open up the question, will social media be “cool” anymore, because it certainly will no longer be trendy? But that is a topic for another post on another day.

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