Monday, August 16, 2010

An Impression Worth Leaving

Second place is first place loser. In sports, that's how I compete. Maybe not the most politically correct in a society where kindergarten classes debate the existence of "participation" trophies (and the societal ramifications of removing healthy competition from the learning environment Google-style) instead of rubbing noses in dirt, but I can't change who I am.

Another thing difficult - if not impossible to change - is a first impression. Alas, it's true that there are no second chances to leave a first impression.


Backing away from that metaphorical ledge, impressions are on my mind. A lot like Georgia, it's a siren song in the marketing world to increase impressions. The kind of impressions that mean something to someone, that is. Impressions of the social media kind...what happens when an impression is recorded? Is it more than someone simply stumbling on a page or a site that loads? Was each impression directly related to marketing campaigns and what is it that those campaigns want you to do now that they have captured your impression? Jason Falls had a lot to say about measuring impressions way back in 2008, but basically he wrapped it up nicely by saying that people don't understand it enough (the analytical technology AND social media as a whole) to really make the kind of lasting impressions that marketers can only dream of acquiring.

To be exact, Falls said, “Big brands want deep-dive information without having to do any work. But they want deep-dive because there is not a hard, fast number we can circle and say, “1,547 here means we made an additional $46.78 there.” The measurement business is an illusion to them. They have no clue what the numbers mean, how they relate to success and, in the end, they can throw them all out and just say, ‘We did some cool sh*t on-line, too,” and their CMO/CEO will be happy, so long as the advertising campaigns lead to sales growth.”

For more information on measuring social media, follow @kdpaine on Twitter. Or read up on what Forrester thinks about the ROI of social media marketing.