Putting a value on social media outputs

The other day I had cause to Google: “What’s the value of a Facebook fan?”

This because some colleagues were evaluating a recent campaign for a client; a campaign that over a month or so had attracted nearly 4,000 Facebook fans. The client wanted to know how much these fans were worth. My initial reaction was that their worth was difficult to calculate, as it would (should) potentially increase over time as they became more engaged, bigger advocates and, hopefully, valuable lifelong customers. But no. We needed to put a value on them. Hence my search.

One of the first results returned highlighted the problem. This article in Advertising Age from June last year references two different studies that tried to answer the question. The studies – by social media companies Syncapse and Vitrue – both used highly complicated and sophisticated formulas. Syncapse put a value on a Facebook fan of $136. Vitrue’s value was $3.60. Perhaps an average of the two might work?

It’s a bit ironic that we’re armed with any number of buzz monitoring and sentiment tracking tools – applications which can help measure the outcome of not only digital and social media but all marketing activities – that we’re being driven to measure the outputs of social media activity: Facebook fans, tweets, blog posts and check-ins. And not only to count the mere numbers, but to stick a precise value on them too.

But clients we have, and clients we serve, so I’m thinking that we should at least have a stab while we’re also trying to educate them…

So earlier today I tweeted that I was thinking about pulling a cross-industry group together to put a value on social media outcomes and that if anyone was interested in getting involved to drop me a line. I’ve already had a great response – the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. If you fancy it then drop me an @ reply on Twitter, or leave a comment here. I’ll try and get a meeting organised.

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12 thoughts on “Putting a value on social media outputs

  1. Definitely. Just in the midst of writing the second draft of the CIPR’s guidance to members on social measurement and evaluation, out shortly, so right up my street.

  2. Me says:

    Cheers Phil – would definitely love to have you along.

  3. Pete Devery says:

    Mark I’d be happy to get involved. I presented at the PR Weak Social media conf this week and one of my comments was around “realising the value of your/clients data”. The thought was sparked by the debate between Jon Snow & Ben Cohen on Ch4 News where Jon doubted the IPO value of Facebook. His argument was that while Ben may be worth $140 (can’t remember exact stat) not all FB users are. Like Jon there are many who opened an account but rarely post / share any content, so they have a low/no data value so FB IPO is overpriced….fair argument I thought. It got me thinking on the real value of a FB user to FB, but also how comms pros can start to use / leverage the value of the data they or their clients share for free. Not quite what you’re asking here but related & I’d to tackle the issue with you.

  4. cluetrainee says:

    Yep, count me in. But only if we recognise the path we are on here: a value in dollar terms is defined as the sum of future cashflows and these are the net of costs and income – so if we’re prepared to go down this route then YES otherwise it’s as specious as underpants on a badger IMHO.

  5. Me says:

    If you think we can get towards that Mark I’d love to go down that route. Will drop you an email. M

  6. Justin says:

    If I had a hat, I’d throw it into the ring. However, I don’t, so I shall mime throwing my hat into the ring.

  7. Me says:

    Thrown, caught…ringed. Whatever. You’re in. Thanks mate.

  8. Neil Vose says:

    Count me in fella. I’ll hopefully try and bring a complete CRM perspective to the table.

  9. Me says:

    Nice. Will email details.

  10. Hargreaves says:

    Pinny been thinking about this too and believe I may have ended up in badgers under wear. I am chairing a discussion tomorrow at ‘Making Money Out of the New Web’ which will look at some of these issues so can share some notes and if you are still noddling this would like to add to the mix. Also if you have cracked it do let me know as it will save much angst.

  11. Me says:

    Hello pal. Definitely interested in seeing your notes. About time we caught up for a glass or two in any case..?

  12. karenlevine says:

    I would love to get involved in this initiative and am very interested to hear what you’ve found thus far.

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