Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Setting Social Media Measurement Standards: The Conclave, The Coalition, and The Big Ask

Where the measurement of public relations and social media overlap is a fuzzy gray area of standards. While PR has only recently decided on a set of principles, social media has a long way to go. There are a bazillion different ways to measure social media, but none that very many people agree upon. (For some background, read “The Four Big Reasons Why We Need Social Media Standards.”)

Here are three separate-but-related industry initiatives to do something about the situation:

The Social Media Measurement Conclave

Next week, Katie Paine (the publisher of this newsletter) is hosting the the first ever Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave. (Follow the procedings on #smmsc on Twitter.) Representatives from more than a dozen associations representing more than 40,000 individual members will be joined by research providers, advertisers, and communications agencies. (See the Venn Diagram above.)

The goal of the meeting is to share programs and progress that the various groups are making towards standards for measuring social media. A major outcome of the Conclave is expected to be detailed documentation of what is currently underway, and what work still needs to be done.

Says Katie Paine: “It's a very complex process to get all these groups talking to each other. What is happening is that back in the early parts of the 20th century, advertising was measured but PR wasn’t, so advertising got to set all the measurement rules. They still think that they get to set the rules. But social media isn’t like advertising. It’s a two-way conversation, which is what PR is all about.”

The Conclave will include representatives from the Coalition (see below), as well as the International Association of Business Communicators, (IABC), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), the Web Analytic Association (WAA), the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), as well as Procter & Gamble, SAS and Thomson Reuters.

The Coalition

IPR, AMEC and CPRF have formed a new coalition to define, develop and promote industry-leading standards for the earned media aspect of social media measurement. The Coalition will participate in the Conclave. Read all about it on the IPR website. National or international organizations that want to support the Coalition or contribute their ideas, recommendations, and expertise should contact Barry Leggetter, Executive Director of AMEC, at

The Big Ask Conference

On November 17th, AMEC is hosting The Big Ask social media measurement conference in London, where it aims to ask PR and media intelligence professionals what they want to see as part of the new global standards.The Coalition will participate in The Big Ask.  Visit this site for more information on The Big Ask. –-WTP


Bill Paarlberg
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Bill Paarlberg

Bill Paarlberg co-founded The Measurement Standard in 2002 and was its editor until July 2017. He also edits The Measurement Advisor newsletter. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
Bill Paarlberg
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