There has been a lot of talk about measurement and return-on-investment in the world of social media. Where and what do we measure? Is there any type of return on investment we can micro manage down to the point of dollars and cents?

Richard Stacy asked a brilliant question on his Social Computing Journal post called Social Media Measurement – Are We STaring At Stones? Are we measuring/looking at the wrong thing? Are we missing the point when we use Web 1.0 measurement tools and try to squeeze them into a Web 2.0 – 3.0 world? I think so. I would guess that Richard would agree.

Are we staring at the finish line without starting the race?

We are focused so intently on understanding the measurement model of social media that we fail to recognize the tool itself.  We fail to realize that a complete understanding of social media (as a tool) has yet to be accomplished. We need to back up and refocus. As a company, we are just as guilty.

It is hard for me to swallow the concepts of using traditional and web 1.0 measurements tools (traffic, click-throughs) to social media tools like Twitter.  What is the answer? Ad agencies are falling over themselves to gain as many viewers as possible to online videos. We can have 2 million views on a YouTube video but does that measure to actual growth in sales? It is hard to tell and becoming increasingly harder (Google aquisition of YouTube).

I don’t have the answer. Every interactive marketing firm on the planet is trying to measure this phenomenal new medium of communication… We all have case studies but there hasn’t been a proven formula for measurement.

Maybe we need to go back to the basics… refocus on completely understanding a new medium  that is changing our entire communication formula.

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