The first ever SWAT Summit kicked off this last week in San Francisco. The aim of the conference was to help advertisers effectively enter and work with social networks.
Due to unfortunate scheduling, I was only able to make it for the last half of the one-day event (earlier in the day I was attending PSFK’s conference). My friend and colleague, Steve Hall of Adrants, had the honor of speaking at two sessions, one of which was The Science of Measuring Campaign Success (User Metrics and Engagement). The session included Ian Swanson (Sometrics), Kim Kochaver (Federated Media), Troy Young (VideoEgg), and Anna Banks (McCann Worldgroup). Steve grilled everyone on if the case studies they were presenting actually worked at the end of the day, and it was obvious that some of the panelists were agitated by this question.
The panelists discussed how demographic targeting/analyzing tools in Facebook were making it easier for clients and ad agencies to measure success in social media. I couldn’t help but raise my hand and ask if this was actually considered progress. By these standards, it seems like advertising is making little to no progress by taking the same solution (demographics, impressions, etc.) and trying to force-fit it into a new problem (social media). I’ve been ranting for a while that demographics are dead. It seems like advertisers are taking the easy way out by using traditional metrics and refusing to spend effort towards educating clients about what is relevant in social media. Additionally, I never once heard the panel mention the idea of building custom metrics based on social media analysis and relevance to the individual project.
I think it’s important for conferences like SWAT Summit to talk about these issues, but I wish there was more representation from the social media side (for the half of the day I was there, it seemed very advertiser-heavy).