Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Who Are the Measurati that Are Setting Social Media Measurement Standards?

SMStandardsChartThere are a few key ingredients to any successful standards-setting efforts. This is especially true for a big topic like setting social media measurement standards.

  • First, you need to have the subject matter experts. In the case of social media measurement standards, these are research providers and agencies that have actually done work in the field, and are familiar with the complexities of the methodologies and systems being standardized.  
  • Secondly, you need to have the people who’s opinions really matter: the clients. As anyone in the measurement business knows, Nielsen’s scheme to establish “Nielsen Ratings” would never have succeeded if key corporations like Procter & Gamble hadn’t bought into it.
  • Thirdly, you need people who understand the process of setting standards. These are the academics and professionals who know how to write standards and get them agreed to.

The good news is that for this effort we have assembled all those groups. The bad news is that it’s a bit confusing, so bear with us as we try to explain. The three organizations below are depicted in the chart to the right.

First you have the Media Ratings Council, a congressionally chartered body that came into existence in the 1950s when fraud and doubt threatened to send the emerging television industry into a tailspin. Congress investigated and established the MRC as the standards-setting body that would audit the audience numbers that the networks were providing. It is a membership organization that is open to anyone who uses media research. Organizations that provide media ratings, such as Nielsen or Arbitron, are not allowed. And the members include advertisers, (like Disney, Pfizer, and Anheuser Busch), publishers (such as Conde Nast and NPR), as well as associations (such as the AAAA, ARF and ANA). The MRC will take the lead on making sure the standards are auditable and accepted by their members.

Secondly you have The Coalition, a group announced last fall. The Coalition is a joint effort between the Institute for Public Relations, PRSA, The Council of PR Firms, and AMEC to establish standards for public relations, and among the standards they are working on are social media measurement. They are working with members of the Conclave to draft earned media standards.

Finally, you have The Conclave, a group inititally brought together last fall at Shankhassick Farm in Durham, NH. Nominally lead by Katie Delahaye Paine, it includes members of The Coalition as well as a broader spectrum of organizations involved in social media, specifically SNCR, the Chartered Institute for Public Relations, Digital Analytics Association (formerly Web Analytics Association), Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), IABC, as well as corporations, including Thomson Reuters, Dell, Procter & Gamble, SAS, and Southwest Airlines.

A partial list of players, in alphabetical order, include:

  • Richard Bagnall, Gorkhana — AMEC Chair of Social Media Measurement Standards
  • Don Bartholomew, Ketchum
  • KC Brown, Cision Global Analysts
  • Doug Chapin, KDPaine & Partners
  • Mark Chaves, SAS Institute
  • Mike Daniels, Report International — AMEC Chair
  • Brad Fay, Keller Fay Group — WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association)
  • David Geddes, Geddes Analytics — Chairman of the Measurement Commission of the IPR
  • Bipasha Ghosh, Thomson Reuters
  • Barry Leggeter — AMEC
  • John Lovett, Web Analytics Demystified — DAA (Digital Analytics Association)
  • Tim Marklein, WCG — Social Media Measurement Standards Coalition, IPR, CPRF and AMEC
  • Jennifer McClure, Thomson Reuters — SNCR (Society for New Communications Research)
  • Rajiv Narang, Dell
  • Frank Oviatt, Institute for Public Relations
  • Katie Delahaye Paine, KDPaine & Partners
  • Philip Sheldrake, The Business of Influence — CIPR
  • Eve Stevens, Waggener Edstom Insight and Analytics — AMEC, CPRF
  • John Stieger, Procter & Gamble
  • Fadl Al Tarzi, News Group International — FIBEP (FIBEP is the organization to which many of the content providers belong)
  • Archana Verma — IABC
  • Mark Weiner, Prime Research
  • Paige Wesley: IABC (International Association of Business Communicators)
  • Professor Don Wright: PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)


Katie Delahaye Paine is CEO of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements. Katie and Beth Kanter are authors of the book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” to be published this year by Wiley.

The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, will be glad to talk with you about measurement for your organization.

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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