Altimeter’s Social Marketing Analytics Report is A Good Start but Stops Short

Kudos to the joint Altimeter Group and Web Analytics Demystified report on Social Marketing Analytics.  Jeremiah Owyang and John Lovett provided an in-depth social media measurement framework.

But is it enough?  The answer is no. 

The Altimeter report is a dandy one so don’t take my “no” as a criticism of it.  Instead, my sentiment is a reflection that social metrics measurement is just the starting point. 

The end point still comes back to the financial impact of social initiatives on a company.   Until you quantify – and qualify – the money part you’re still missing the an important part of the social business initiative.

That’s not to say social metrics lack importance.  Just the opposite.  Metrics are the feedstock of the financial forecasts and results of social initiatives.

If, however, you expect to get an executive green light on a social initiative, then you have to show executives the money.  And the bigger your social program, the more demanding execs will be to understand the monetary impacts of the initiative.  Keep in mind too, ROI is just part of the valuation process and it’s the last part.  Other components are the cash flows of gains and costs, as well as time-value of those cash flows (net present value).

Valuation isn’t one of the sexier social business planning activities.  It involves figuring out how to dovetail social metrics with accounting results to show the financial picture.  And yeah, that means spreadsheets and number-crunching.  Thus, valuation is the sort of activity marketing, financial, or business analysts perform.

But here’s what is sexy about determining the value of social initiatives.  Getting to Go.