Today, we bring you Measurement Monday and the last installment of a three-part series from guest blogger Angela Jeffrey.

This will be my last post of three on the latest developments in the standardization of PR and social media measurement! I hope you caught Part One and Part Two of this series, and are up to speed. As laid out in the Part One, a cross-industry collaboration has come together to create real standards including the major PR trade bodies; social media analytics experts; advertising and word-of-mouth associations; and blue-chip client companies. Two organizations in this collaboration have now launched microsites for public comment on standards-in-progress:

Part One focused on Standard #1 of the six categories below, and Part Two discussed Standards #2 and #3, which will close soon in regards to public comment. Today, I’ll share Standards #4, #5 and #6 in what detail is available to date.


4. Influence & Relevance
(Comment period closes March 2013; to be published April 2013)

Influence and Relevance are still in the discussion stage, though initial thoughts are included below. In a nutshell, influence is something that takes place beyond engagement; it is multi-level and multi-dimensional, online and offline. It is not popularity, nor is it a singular score. It is relevant by domain and subject level. Influence and relevance should be rated via human research; not algorithms.

  • Influence happens when one is persuaded to change behavior or opinion that would otherwise not have changed. 
  • Any influence score requires transparency; not ‘black-box’ algorithms. 
  • Survey research can measure what people claim to be influenced by. 
  • Campaign impact on a business outcome can be measured by data analysis (like correlations). 
  • Influence cannot be expressed in a single score or algorithm. 
  • Influence can be for an outlet or an individual.
  • Influence must be tied to a specific topic, brand or issue.
  • Influence should include some combination of the following five elements, which are not to be summed up: If one element equals zero, then the item itself is not influential. 
    1. Reach
    2. Engagement around individual
    3. Relevance to topic
    4. Frequency of posts around the topic 
    5. Audience impact as measured by the ability to get the target audience to change behavior or opinion. 

Further research and discussion on the Influence & Relevance topic is being led by Phillip Sheldrake, Brad Fay and Sean Williams, who will present their findings at the next #SMMStandards Conclave meeting in February. (Special thanks to Katie Paine of KDPaine/Salience for leading the #SMMStandards Conclave session last fall in New Hampshire and for providing many of the summary notes used in this series of posts.)

5. Opinion & Advocacy
(To be published June 2013)

Sentiment is over-rated and over-used and varies by vendor and approach. Opinions, recommendations and other qualitative measures are more important, but coding definitions, consistency and transparency are critical:

  • Opinions (“it’s a good product”)
  • Recommendations (“try it or avoid it”)
  • Feeling/Emotions (“that product makes me happy”)
  • Intended action (“I’m going to buy that product tomorrow”)

As with the topic above, conversations about these topics resume in February.

6. Impact & Value
(To be published June 2013)

The terms Impact and Value are not interchangeable and will depend on client objectives and outcomes. “ROI” should be strictly limited to measurable financial impact which is ideally organization-wide; but “total value” can be used for financial and non-financial impact combinations. Value can be calculated in positive results (sales, reputation, etc.) or avoided negative results (risk mitigated, costs avoided). 

Again, watch for updates to the ongoing discussion in February!

Would you like to be involved as standards are developed? Watch for updates at and on Twitter #SMMStandards, and provide your feedback!

Angela Jeffrey is founder of, a high-level consultancy that helps clients create PR and social media measurement strategies and identify suitable service providers. She is also a member of the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission, and is senior counsel to CARMA International.