The Chartered Institute of Public Relations announced this week one of the first actions to come out of its newly formed Social Media Panel... the Social Media Measurement Group.

Some time back in the early days of media relations some bright spark came up with the idea of using a ruler to measure 'column inches', a considerably less than perfect approach to assessing PR campaign success only compounded in its inability to drive performance and measure success appropriately by advertising value equivalence (AVE).

My disgust for column inches and AVE has nearly lost me business on more than one occasion, but being prepared to work with prospects on improved approaches can end up contributing to the reasons for going on to convert their business.

Without a doubt, the simplest and shortest response to someone's defense of such amateur approaches is to ask how they would measure a campaign's success if a primary objective of a campaign was to keep brand X out of the press? "Oh, errr, well, I mean, that would be, ermm....".

And then the Web arrived, and suddenly everyone was enamoured at the Web's capacity to deal with numbers. Everything was a 1 or a 0. Either a page was 'viewed' or it wasn't. Either an ad was served or clicked or it wasn't. Marketing nirvana had supposedly arrived for all marketing practitioners.

But interestingly, whilst online advertising has stolen a massive chunk of the budget previously the preserve of advertising in the 'real world', the new rules of marketing and PR have been engagement over interruption, conversation over brand bludgeoning. Or in other words, PR over advertising.

And so the PR industry, perhaps not particularly famous for its scientific approach or adoption of information technology, is now faced with more data in a day than it had to work with throughout the entire decade of the 1990s. Probably. Surely there must be something in there? Surely, we can pull a few measures together, perhaps tweak with some weighting, add some stuff here and take some other stuff away there, and as sure as Facebook is an infringement of anyone's personal privacy you'd have the ultimate measure of PR campaign effectiveness.

Not quite.

That's why I'm delighted to be leading the CIPR Social Media Measurement Group, and I'm excited that we appear by all accounts to have assembled a rather useful bunch of PR measurement experts to update the CIPR's guidance and policies in this regard.

If you'd like more information about this sort of stuff, then a great place to start is The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008. But then I wrote it. Whilst it is obviously dated a while back, its content has stood the test of time. It has been downloaded over 90,000 times now, and the downloads in April 2010 exceeded those in April 2009 :-)

And of course, you will find Katie Delahaye Paine's and Marshall Sponder's blogs fascinating too. Which why it's fab that both of them have agreed to act as special advisers to our new group. And I've appended mini-biogs for the entire team below.

Watch this space for updates as we begin our work, and in the meantime, if you liked this, you may like the following:

Influence - the bullship, best practice and promise

Influence - it's a numbers game


Members of the CIPR Social Measurement Group

CIPR Social Measurement Group Twitter list

CIPR Social Media Panel Twitter list

Marcus Gault, Precise (@precisemarcus)
Marcus has 15 years’ experience in research and analysis gained in senior roles at Millward Brown, AC Nielsen and in-house at ASDA. He has advised a range of high profile clients including Google, Blackrock and Toyota, and has been instrumental in establishing Precise as the UK's fastest growing analysis provider. He continues to lead the development of Precise's unique and innovative methods of assessing and reporting on PR and communications effectiveness and is an active member of the analysis trade body AMEC.

Luke Brynley-Jones, Our Social Times (@lbrynleyjones)
Luke founded and runs Our Social Times, the social media blog and consultancy that hosts Europe’s leading social media monitoring conference, Monitoring Social Media, and the Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp. Having developed over 40 online communities over the past 10 years, Luke is one of the UK’s most experienced social media experts. Luke also runs the Inbound Marketing Forum and teaches social media marketing for the University of Essex.

Adam Paulisick, The Nielsen Company (BuzzMetrics) (@paulisick)
Adam is Senior Director, Commercial Operations for The Nielsen Company’s Online division (audience, advertising, video and social media market research) with responsibility for driving effective commercial strategy and operations within EMEA. Prior to Adam’s arrival in London he led global account planning and was originally one of the members of the BuzzMetrics team guiding early business development efforts.

Giles Palmer, Brandwatch (@joodoo9)
Giles is the founder and CEO of Brandwatch. He has taken the company from an initial project to build a local search engine for the UK government to a global Social Media Monitoring business. Work started on Brandwatch in November 2004, and really accelerated when the company raised external capital to develop the system in May 2006.

Marshall Manson, Edelman (@marshallmanson)
Marshall is Director of Digital Strategy for Edelman UK. He is a pioneer in the field of online strategy, communications and reputation management. He moved to the UK in 2008, having previously worked in Edelman’s Washington DC office as Vice-President of Online Advocacy. Marshall advises a host of clients across all industries on online reputation management, crisis management, advocacy, engagement and viral marketing.

Paul Armstrong, Kindred (@themediaisdying and @munkyfonkey)
Paul is working for Kindred (an integrated communications agency) as Digital Director after spending the last seven years in Los Angeles, the last two of which were at MySpace in the Corporate Communications department. Before this he worked for brands such as Sony, Activision, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks and Yahoo!

Philip Sheldrake, Influence Crowd
Philip authored "The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008" and gets hired by organisations looking to embed social analytics into the fabric of their organisation as effectively and cost effectively as possible. He also consults on the Internet of Things and the Semantic Web. Philip is a chartered engineer and founder and partner of Influence Crowd. He co-founded, built and sold Fuse PR to W2 Group in 2006.

Special advisers:

Katie Delahaye Paine, KD Paine & Partners (@kdpaine)
Katie is the CEO and founder of KDPaine & Partners LLC and author of "Measuring Public Relationships: The data-driven communicator's guide to measuring success." She also writes the first blog (Katie Paine's Measurement Blog) and publishes the first newsletter (The Measurement Standard) dedicated entirely to measurement and accountability.

Marshall Sponder, the 'Web Metrics Guru' (@webmetricsguru)
Marshall is the founder of, an industry blog about Web analytics, social media and search marketing. He writes a monthly column for on leveraging online marketing technologies that help businesses succeed in a challenging economy. Marshall is an Emeritus Director of Social Media at the Web Analytics Association and currently on the SEMPO Research Committee. He maintains his own analytics consultancy, Now-Seo, with current PR and search marketing projects at PR firm Porter Novelli and