Social Media Analytics by Marshall Sponder
316 pages, McGraw-Hill, 2011
Marshall Sponder has proved himself to be one of the world’s most thought provoking social media practitioner and thinker with the recent publication of his book “Social Media Analytics” (Amazon affiliate link).
Learning exactly how to measure the ROI for a campaign relies upon campaign objectives but a PR professional should be taking a figure-head position in this respect. Sponder discusses in his first chapter on ROI how short term and long term objectives should be recognised. Whilst running an online competition may provide effective long-term results, will it have the potency to drive customer loyalty in the long run? Twitter is adrift with an assembly of self-proclaimed social media ‘experts’ but few have got to grips with how ROI should be measured online.
Sponder is no alien to controversy and independent thought. His book immediately tackles the on-going problem of social listening platforms providing data results to agencies. The rub with such listening dashboards (an example list of them can be found here) is that analysts require business knowledge to gain the correct perspective behind social media metrics. The dilemma reveals itself to be inaccurate ROI calculations in a market which will require hard data to compare against more traditional marketing methods.
Some parts of “Social Media Analytics” will be familiar with many PR professionals who regularly use the inbuilt facilities of social media platforms such as Facebook insights or YouTube insights. Whilst this book is currently relevant I can foresee Sponder’s book quickly becoming out-of-date in this respect due to the fast paced nature of the online domain.
Within the chapter ‘Online Social Intelligence’ Sponder hits upon the subject of machine algorithms which dictate our search results and form the basis of many ROI measurement tools. The trick of these tools is to separate signal from noise to gain a contextual understanding of online mentions which goes far beyond simply detecting the amount of mentions a single campaign receives.
In conclusion Marshall Sponder’s book is not one that should be ignored if you work in the area of social media. It is impossible to sum up the whole contents of the book accurately in a blog post (but I do hope this short review did his book justice). If you have found yourself paying hundreds for social media training courses then save yourself money and learn far more by simply purchasing his £22 book from Amazon. You won’t regret it.
Marshall Sponder also regularly updates his blog at WebMetricsGuru.com