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August 09, 2011

PRSA Chair: Social Media Measurement is PR's 'Next Great Challenge' — PRDaily Op-Ed

In an op-ed published Aug. 9, 2011, in Ragan's PRDaily, PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, writes that the next great challenge in public relations will be properly measuring social media campaigns. 

According to Fiske: "It took decades for PR to resolve that “measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.” (That’s Barcelona Principle No. 2.) We can’t afford to spend years arguing over how to effectively measure what is a constantly evolving new communications medium."
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PR's Next Great Challenge: Measuring Social Media
By Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, PRSA Chair and CEO
Ragan's PRDaily
Published: Aug. 9, 2011

Now that PR has finally moved past the dreaded and outdated advertising value equivalent (AVE), we can rejoice that our profession’s longstanding measurement issues are resolved. Right?

Not exactly.

One problem has been crossed off the list: developing global measurement standards. The Barcelona Principles achieved this, with further codification at July’s European Summit on Measurement. But other issues remain.

Chief among them is PR’s next challenge: measuring social media.

KMart CMO Mark Snyder put this into perspective recently when he told a marketing panel in New York that the biggest challenge facing marketing executives is to find a way to connect social media’s value to sales.

Unfortunately, that fails to take into account an important aspect of this conversation. While social media may be a marketing communications tool, it doesn't yet receive resounding plaudits as a long-term sales tool.

I understand what Snyder meant. There’s a need to measure communications campaigns in a way that is less esoteric and hyperbolic but demonstrates real business results.

It took decades for PR to resolve that “measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.” (That’s Barcelona Principle No. 2.) We can’t afford to spend years arguing over how to effectively measure what is a constantly evolving new communications medium.

Read the full op-ed at Ragan's PRDaily.
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