Coalition Aims to Establish Global Standards for Social Media Measurement

Three leading communications groups have formed a new coalition to define, develop and promote industry-leading standards for social media measurement.

The coalition aligns top communications research and measurement consultants from the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC),Council of PR Firms (CPRF) and Institute for Public Relations (IPR). The coalition builds on prior work and related initiatives by the three associations, including community discussion at conferences held over the past 16 months in Barcelona, Portsmouth, London, Miami, Lisbon and Philadelphia.

"Clients and agencies are hungry for expert guidance to navigate the changing media landscape, and they deserve guidance that's based on sound social science, proven practices and openly available methodologies," said Tim Marklein, coalition chair and Practice Leader, Technology & Analytics, WCG. "Too many of the social media measurement options available today are based on proprietary tools and methods that can't be easily replicated across brands, campaigns and organizations. As a coalition, we intend to break down those barriers and map out a path to standards that address key social media measurement challenges, including content sourcing, influence, sentiment, engagement and ROI among others."

Marklein added that the coalition plans to actively engage other industry associations and client organizations as contributors and supporters of the effort, similar to the open collaboration effort that resulted in adoption of the "Barcelona Principles" for public relations measurement.

Richard Bagnall, Chair of AMEC's Social Media Measurement Group and Managing Director of Metrica, said: "Rather than allowing spurious metrics to stand a chance of getting a hold in our industry, the time is right for PR professionals to once more come together to guide the industry to the best way to measure its work. As well as working for global consensus in the PR industry on the issue, we will also look to work with representatives of other marketing disciplines to make sure that as marketing disciplines converge, credible metrics will work across all channels."

David Geddes, Chair of the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission, said the IPR was excited to join what they hoped would be a number of collaborative initiatives on standards in public relations research, measurement, and evaluation. "Marketplace demand always drives standards, and our Institute board members - CCOs and major agency leaders - represent our final clients. The Commission itself is composed of researcher-practitioners and thought-leaders in public relations research, measurement, and evaluation drawn from four segments of the global public relations industry: (i) corporations, government, and non-profits; (ii) public relations agencies; (iii) research firms; and (iv) academia."

Geddes added that two Commission members, David Michaelson and Don Stacks, have recently authored an important paper on standards and best practices in public relations research and measurement, a guideline for standards development.

He added: "The varied perspectives of the three coalition members thus provide the broadest industry perspective as we develop this first set of standards."

Coalition members will take part in two upcoming forums as part of the industry consultation effort. The first is a Social Media Measurement "conclave" with nearly a dozen marketing, research, communications and advertising associations being hosted by Katie Delahaye Paine, founder and CEO of KDPaine & Partners LLC, in New Hampshire 24/25 October.

On 17th November, AMEC is running "The Big Ask" social media measurement conference in London, when it aims to ask PR and media intelligence professionals what they want to see as part of the new global standards.

National or international organisations that want to support the Coalition or contribute their ideas, recommendations and expertise should contact Barry Leggetter, Executive Director of AMEC, at barryleggetter@amecorg.com.

About AMEC

AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, has grown to become a global trade body for agencies and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research. AMEC's purpose is to define and develop the industry on an international scale with better professional standards for both companies and individuals.

About Council of Public Relations Firms

The Council of Public Relations Firms was founded in 1998 and is comprised of America's leading public relations firms. Its membership represents the premier global, mid-size, regional and specialty agencies across every discipline and practice area. The Council's mission is to advance the business of public relations firms by building the market and firms' value as strategic business partners. For more information about the Council, visit www.prfirms.org.

About the Institute for Public Relations

The Institute for Public Relations is an independent foundation focused on research that is immediately applicable in communications practice. IPR's Commission on Public Relations Measurement & Evaluation is composed of researcher-practitioners and thought-leaders whose mission is to develop and promote standards and best practices for research, measurement and analytics that contribute to ethical, strategic and effective public relations.

For further information contact:

Contact: Barry Leggetter, executive director, AMEC barryleggetter@amecorg.com
Matt Shaw, Senior Vice President, CPRF
mshaw@prfirms.org

Frank Ovaitt, CEO, Institute for Public Relations
iprceo@jou.ufl.edu

Tim Marklein Practice Leader, Technology & Analytics, WCG
tmarklein@wcgworld.com