‘Data Little Secret’ of Social Media

28.05.2014 by Eric Wachs

At FullBottle, our company has been exploring methods to track our own Social Media activity. Through this exploration, one trend has become abundantly clear: Inconsistent Data is the biggest challenge facing Social Media advertisers.

We have all read numerous reports about social media spending skyrocketing:
— “Market research firm BIA/Kelsey predicts social media advertising revenue will grow from $5.1 billion in 2013 to $15 billion in 2018.”
— “This year represents the greatest year-over-year jump in social media ad revenues, growing to $8.4 billion in 2014, largely due to increases in mobile and native advertising.”

In order for this hockey-stick trajectory (GoKingsGo!) to continue, these two challenges must be solved:

1. Lack of consistent metrics: The IAB (or some organization) needs to reign in the wild west of social media data. For example, is an impression really an impression just because a post appears on a social data (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) feed? All users of any social network know that we can’t possibly read/watch/view every post!

2. Tracking views: Related to #1 above, is the biggest data flaw in all of social media advertising. Only YouTube openly displays video views. If a brand commissions an influencer to create a video on Vine or Instagram, the number of views is not displayed. Furthermore, companies sell clients on the reach of a particular influencer…but again how many of their followers are actually viewing the content?

So what does this mean for advertisers? Should social spending stop? Of course not. But much like mobile advertising is (and was) the wild, wild west…so too is the world of social. As I have seen from exploring solutions for our own social needs, the water is murky at best and downright dirty in most cases.

As our CEO discussed at the Digital Kids summit earlier this year, advertisers will be assured of success when the strategy of “distribution” is taken as seriously as, if not more seriously than, the “strategy” of content creation.

Next week in this space, we will explore recently published studies that attempt to measure the effectiveness of social media at driving truly verified consumption of content. Until then…Happy (Untracked) Viewing!!

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