Facebook’s Next Frontier: Measuring Social Media

In 2010, Facebook will develop new tools to measure the ROI of marketing and advertising on their platform.

During the first day of Social Media Week 2010, Fabio Freyre (Facebook’s VP of Advertising), hinted that Facebook is currently in advanced stages of "developing additional tools and analytics" to measure online and offline engagement within their own platform. These tools will be stronger and more robust than the tools Facebook has previously made available, which merely poll users about brands.

One of the biggest questions regarding social media and engagement is, "how do we measure this stuff?" There are professional agencies that are dedicated to measuring social awareness, buzz, engagement, and ultimately return on investment (ROI).

Specifically with Facebook, how does one know how much value to place on a "fan" (a person who has attached themselves to the Facebook page of a company, brand, or organization) of a particular brand? How much is that fan worth? What is the scale of engagement that fan has with his "community"?

Back in September 2009, Facebook—the reining king of social media, with over 400M users—teamed up with Neilsen to launch a new advertising platform, 'Brand Lift'. This is part of Facebook's strategy to give advertisers something they've never been able to achieve with other mediums: instant feedback. Brand Lift allows advertisers to conduct polls among Facebook's 350 Million+ users, segmenting them by all sorts of metrics, including those who have and haven't been exposed to the ad. Brand Lift was a big advance in giving advertisers insight of their ROI through online ads and social media. But it's not enough, and Facebook knows that.

Freyre went on to say, "Have we made progress over the past year? Yes. Are we where we want to be? No."

He also indicated that Facebook is trying to figure out how to measure the exact value of a fan offline. Measuring offline ('real world) brand engagement and conversations are the missing metric. Once businesses can figure out just how much they're getting out of social media, they will know how much effort they should be putting in.

I look forward to finding out more about these tools and how brands will use them in the future.

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