Do brands need to share social media analytics?

Is it time for the marketing industry to standardise social media analytics? Marshall Sponder thought so in 2012, but what does he think now...

social media analytics


Marshall Sponder is one of the world’s foremost experts on social media analytics, and when he speaks social media professionals need to listen.

Back in 2012, he said in an interview that brands were out there doing social media analytics on their own, with no standardised processes across the industry.

“Nobody seems to know how to do [social media] right,” he said. “If they are doing it well, they aren’t talking about it all that much.

“What this means it there’s no standardisation of it all. No only are standards lacking, but sharing is missing, as well. So largely, businesses are out discovering social media on their own, and not sharing a whole lot with others.”

We caught up with Marshall to find out whether he feels this situation has changed over the intervening years…

Marshall Sponder

This whole question, as described from the perspective of 2012, has become less important. One reason for the change is there is no longer a strong separation between social media and the rest of marketing, it’s all become one ball of wax that marketers must figure out.

Also, there’s a lot more data that has become available, including SoLoMo (Social/Mobile/Local)/Geolocation information. As a result, the idea of standardising analytics across an industry has been blown up by the rapidly evolving marketing technology stack and its data layers.

I’m afraid that a standardised process is more of an ideal to strive towards than anything we’re likely to see in our lifetimes. Some are wishing the Blockchain (where users are rewarded for actions and engagement with real or virtual currency) will rescue us from this data nightmare.

I’m a dreamer and a realist at the same time. Maybe the Blockchain is the operating system the world should want, but it is incompatible with the world as it is – and Blockchain is the only viable solution that the 21st century has dreamed up yet to our situation.

There are now so many players, with so many data layers, that every business can have a somewhat unique combination of marketing data, requiring somewhat of a customised analytics solution.

Case in point, Luma Partners Marketing Technology Landscape provides thousands of competing vendors who provide customised data feed and processing services that can be customised and combined into a single marketing stack for any business via Web Analytics Tag Managers.


READ MORE: Can we really measure social media ROI?


So standardisation of processes is as much of a problem today as it was in 2012. But due to the other challenges and opportunities we have today, especially with Big Data becoming so much of a focus, it no longer matters that much.

What’s more important is finding the right combination of marketing data and processing for any business, along with analytics talent to support it. While the Blockchain will remain a distant dream or ideal, we can achieve a working marketing stack for every company, and real analytics talent to run it.

In fact, the idea that a single process would work for any industry or any dataset was a myth; it never existed in the history of the world. Comparing metrics produced from one organisation with another will always be like comparing apples to oranges, because of all the hidden bias that exist in any organisation.

Therefore, the modern marketer is best off not even trying to do this, and after writing my second book, I’m more set in this belief than I was before I started writing it three years ago.

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