6 Use Cases for Social Media Measurement

Wherever I go, the question I hear most often is this: “What is the ROI of social media?” Even though most companies we’ve surveyed have a brand monitoring solution in place, few have yet to crack the measurement code. It remains one of the most stubborn challenges for the social business.

During the past several months, I’ve spoken with nearly forty industry experts, including brands, agencies and vendors, to learn about their approaches to monitoring and measuring social media. It is a snapshot of a moment in time; one in which the market is fragmented, messy and chaotic.

Listening and analytics tools have begun to converge, while engagement and content management tools (social media management systems) remain largely separate. It’s a symptom of the immaturity of this market that the tools we need to listen and measure are separate from the tools we need to publish and engage, but there you are. Social analytics is still largely aspirational.

This report is intended to offer a framework and set of use cases that demonstrate how social media is being used in business today. It includes examples, caveats and pragmatic recommendations to help you plan, execute and evaluate your own social measurement program. Here is the main framework, the “Social Media Measurement Compass,” which lays out six use cases for social media (and therefore measurement):


Over the next several months, I will be updating this research and diving deeper into the use cases to paint a more detailed picture of social media measurement as it evolves. The focus, as it is in this report, will be on listening, insights, measurement and, most importantly, action.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many companies and individuals who contributed their time and insights to this report, as well as to everyone at Altimeter who provided guidance and data throughout. I’d also like to thank Andy Nguyen and Christine Tran, who produced the final document. Our intention with all our research is to be open and transparent, so please check our disclosures page for the most recent list of Altimeter Group clients.

I was recently invited to share my independent findings in webinars sponsored by Coremetrics and Visible Technologies, both Altimeter clients.

Related Resources

I look forward to your comments, ideas and questions and will cross-link to anyone who posts about the report here. If you’d like to cite the graphics, please see this Flickr set. The Creative Commons license is Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States.

If you’ve posted about the report and I’ve missed it, please let me know.

A Framework for Social Analytics

View more documents from Susan Etlinger
[Cross-posted from susanetlinger.com].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *