Justifying the expense

Here's a question that goes straight to the point: How do you decide when to spring for social media measurement?

Scott Bauman poses the question on his blog:

It's still so damn expensive and is especially prohibitive for smaller companies who could benefit, but can't yet spring for formal measurement. So my question is when does it make sense to start? What "value" does a client expect before the investment is worth it?
Note that in this case, the question is coming from the agency side, so it's not a question of whether a client should have their agency track social media. It's a question of moving from free, do-it-yourself tools to more sophisticated tools and services.

For small companies with relatively low exposure (mine, for example), vanity feeds from free search tools are adequate. I deal with the redundant items and noise, because the overall volume is low. I don't worry about metrics, either. At the low volume, all I really want is to read everything that mentions or links to me. An agency can provide this service with off-the-shelf software and entry-level staff.

At the high end—major consumer brands—the volume is overwhelming. Metrics become interesting because (a) there's enough volume to generate interesting data, and (b) it's the only way to digest potentially thousands of daily mentions. You're a long way from free services in this category.

Somewhere in the middle, there's a decision to make. To complicate matters, there's a wide range of services, with a rough, inverse correlation between cost and the amount of effort required of the client/agency. Let's meet over at Scott's post for that discussion.


About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
  • Principal, Social Target
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