Does the Squeaky Wheel Really Get the Grease?

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How does share of voice get us to business outcomes?

Many communicators believe that their brand should have an active voice in relevant conversations.  And to prove that they were vocal, they produce a lovely pie chart showing their “share of voice.”  Great.  You made some noise.   But can you measure the positive impact from your share of voice on outcomes?  I hope that your boss was not fooled by that pie chart.

Like impressions counting, determining a brand’s share of voice is a metric, not a measurement.   It’s just one indicator of campaign activity.  What we really want to measure is whether or not your participation in the conversation helped you to reach one of your goal outcomes.

Share of voice is a valid metric, but let’s use it appropriately to actually do some measurement.  You’ll have to add qualitative analysis to the share of voice you’ve quantified.  Here’s how:

  • Timing matters.  Ditch the pie chart and track that share of voice over time.  Longitudinal changes in share of voice are revealing.
    • When do your competitors talk?
    • Are you all talking at the same time, or taking turns?
    • Is an obvious timing advantage visible for future exploitation?
  • Messages matter.  Enhance your data with message identification to study what each competitor is saying.  
    • Are you all saying the same thing?
    • Are you delivering your message well?
    • Is there some obvious differentiation that you could exploit for your brand?
  • Organic Sentiment is telling.  A lot of companies are only measuring their own voice, but conversations are 2-sided affairs.   Take off your blinders and also look at organic social media mentions of the brands or topics you are evaluating.
    • Is the audience agreeing with the message you are using?
    • Or is a competitor’s messaging or timing getting more favorable mentions from consumers?
    • Who’s engaging with your voice?
    • Is one type of consumer a more positive advocate for your brand than others?

Now, when you walk into your boss’s or client’s office, you’ll be able to give your expert insights about when to talk, what to talk about and how to boost advocacy and raise sentiment for your brand which in turn should influence outcome goals such as purchase intent, brand sales or brand reputation changes.

And the cycle begins again.  Off you go to make some more noise and leverage your share of voice to impact outcomes.  Keep measuring to see how changes in your share of voice can turn into better outcomes.


Metric – a unit of measurement

Measurement – a system of evaluating metrics to determine how they can change desired outcomes.

Share of Voice – the percentage of published content and conversations about you compared to your competitors.

Measurement Month – An Hour of Learning, Your Gift to You



It’s measurement month and I have a challenge for PR and Marketing Communications professionals.  Re-educate yourself to deliver media measurement well.  

The communications industry is at a crossroads.  So much change.  It’s scary, and many communicators have stopped measuring well.  (Yes, I have data to prove that.)

It’s time to re-educate yourself about media measurement because it’s important to have a seat at the table for budgets and branding and marketing strategy.  We need to raise the standard again.

You want to be the thought leader for your own brand.  Schedule an hour with yourself to further your own education about measuring.  Spend a few minutes investigating different components of media measurement.  Then, emerge with a measurement plan for your brand.

Your Hour

  • (10 minutes)  Do I know the standards for media measurement?
  • (10 – 20 minutes)  What are my communications goals for my brand?  (Just one goal will do.) Check out AMEC’s framework for measurement – a template for setting goals and measuring.
  • (5 minutes)  How will I measure the quantity of all the media channels I use with the appropriate daily unique exposures level? (metric: reach/awareness)
  • (10 minutes)  How will I measure the quality of my efforts?  How can I measure the effectiveness of a message or theme? (metric: engagement)
  • (5 minutes)  How will I use quality to improve quantity? (insight)
  • (10 minutes)  How can I give my client/boss/organization realistic, insightful data showing outcomes that achieve brand goals?

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.15.20 PMKeep it simple and focused.  And if you work for a team, share what you learned in your hour.  Tell them what you think should be measured, how and why….. because you’re the thought leader, right?

Raising your own standards for measuring lifts you (and your profession) up.

Tell me, how did your hour go?

-Debi Parcheta

New MASB Book Links Marketing Actions to Financial Performance

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 1.09.37 PMBlue Marble is proud to announce the publication of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board’s book, Accountable Marketing: Linking Marketing Actions to Financial Performance (Routledge 2016), including the chapter our CEO, Debra Parcheta, co-authored: Chapter 7, Customer Lifetime Value in the Packaged Goods Industry.

This book sets the stage for new working relations between Finance and Marketing and relates how fundamental change was initiated in the business community through collaboration across industry lines.

Chapter 7 shows how it is possible to use sound mathematics to predict the future equity of a brand and to understand how marketing tactics are actually helping or hurting a brand’s future expected NPV.  Marketers have long been looking for predictive analytics to help guide marketing investments that cause brand growth.  The time has come to start using forward-looking analytics in addition to backward-looking mix models.

MASB is the independent, cross-industry forum that sets the measurement and accountability standards that visionary leaders in Finance and Marketing rely on to guide investment decisions for enterprise value.

Embracing a Knowledge Culture

We’re in the midst of a revolution – a knowledge revolution.  And YOU are a knowledge worker. 

(Yes, yembracingknowledge_dreamstime_m_31228305ou, my colleagues in marketing and public relations.  And you, my friends working on social media and brand communications of every kind.)

It’s estimated that 88% of the work force has data at its fingertips now and companies expect their workers to use it.   Data is the fuel for innovation and the impetus for insightful discovery and change.  Each of us must develop a system to create, process and enhance our own knowledge and then manage the knowledge of others by sharing and teaching what we learn.

Knowledge gives us the building blocks of relationships, the methods by which we synthesize complex or conflicting priorities, and the basis for identifying and understanding trends. How do you make connections, understand cause and effect, innovate or strategize without knowledge?  You do it all the time, maybe without thinking about it.

Professionally, we’re in the business of making hypotheses, collecting metrics, setting KPIs and measuring performance for our brands but many marketing and PR professionals are not confident about their abilities to gather data and use it well.   Many of us stop at reporting metrics (impressions or engagement or web site visitors) but confess to being overwhelmed beyond that effort.  You are not delivering knowledge if you stopped there.

I can assure you that you have the right tool for the rest of the job though.  You were born with it – a human brain.

Do you want to improve your value as a knowledge worker?  Think about your “brainy” skills.  Which of these knowledge worker ninja abilities do you need to improve?

  • Making clear hypotheses.
  • Finding the right data to study.
  • Using the right amount of data.
  • Simplifying data to use what matters most.
  • Understanding metrics across different data sources.
  • Comparing data – apples to apples.
  • Setting key performance indicators.
  • Predicting performance outcomes.
  • Thinking divergently.
  • Thinking convergently.
  • Developing actionable insights.
  • Understanding consumers and trends.

Now give your computer a hug because it gives you data.  And give your brain a smile because it holds your knowledge.

You’ve got this!

Hunting the Elusive DUV (Daily Unique Visitors)


Imagine being asked to count a flock of doves perched together in a leafy tree. It’s very difficult to count the individual birds as they come and go and hop around in between the leaves. That data is nearly impossible to gather but it’s certain that the more accurately you can measure the number of individuals in the population, the more useful the data will be for conservation and research outcomes. That’s why ornithologists have developed proven counting techniques such as grouping and grids to closely estimate the realistic number of doves in the tree.

Does this problem sound familiar? Every week, communications professionals everywhere need to count the individuals who saw their media content. To measure outcomes realistically, we are in search of the elusive DUV (daily unique visitors) metric. If we cannot accurately count DUVs, we cannot perform outcome analysis well.

For online media outlets, it’s easy to find monthly unique visitors but that would grossly overstate the number of individuals who visited a certain url on a given day. Like our ornithologist friends, we need to count daily unique visitors using mathematically sound counting techniques.

At last, Blue Marble engineers have developed software that uses publicly available website rankings and proprietary algorithms to determine the daily unique visitors to a website. We’re solving a problem that’s vexed the public relations and marketing measurement world for years. We’re calling the new tool the DUV Hunter™.

Users will be able to type in a url and get back a current number of DUVs for that site. When DUV Hunter cannot find enough information to do the math correctly, the url is referred to our human researchers and DUV Hunter will email you a number later.

So many of our customers have said to us, “How on earth do you find all of these DUVs every week?” For all of them and for all of the new hires and interns who got stuck with the rotten job of looking for “reach” to report in trackers, we’ll be releasing the DUV Hunter next week. Watch for a link to the DUV Hunter on our website ( Try it for free until New Year’s Day. Tell us what you think.

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall…

Who’s the fairest of them all….?  That’s really the question some PR professionals are asking about their social media efforts.  And like the evil queen in Snow White, there’s only one acceptable answer. “Me.”

So they count their followScreen Shot 2015-09-15 at 3.26.42 PMers or fans or the reach of their own posts.  They compare their own posts for their own brands side by side and declare the one with the highest awareness to be the “fairest of them all.”   In essence, they are looking at themselves in the mirror and asking, “Am I pretty?”

Engagement has a similar flavor.  While it’s useful to know what elements of social media activity engage the followers or fans that are already there, it’s the equivalent of asking, “Am I popular?” 

Let’s call them what they are: vanity metrics.

I’m not suggesting you give that up.  But it’s not enough.  You do have to measure what works from your own efforts.  Test and learn.  Strategize.  Innovate.  This is the data that allows you to compare your media efforts to other marketing efforts in advanced analytics.  That’s good science and you do want to see what gets you both strong impressions and strong engagement.

But, that’s only one third of what you should be measuring. Continue reading

Counting Basics for Communicators

The Sumerians started it 6000 years ago –  counting.  The Egyptians transformed counting into measuring – they needed a standard unit of measure to build things and the cubit was born.  Egyptians were the first to use symbols that represented different quantities to note how many things existed.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.09.59 AM

When we measure traditional and social media coverage, we also use standards.  We start by counting the size of the audience that was exposed to our story or social media post.  Communicators who are new to traditional and social media measurement can follow some standard practices to avoid common counting mistakes.  Our objective is to  produce credible and valuable media measurements.

Daily unique Impressions are the standard units on which we build measurements.  Different media channels measure how many people consume the stories they publish in different ways.   We simply want to count the number of unique people who were exposed to our content on a certain date in a certain place.  The standard for accurately representing that in any channel is to count daily unique impressions for each story or post published.  Often, this means that our weekly TV viewers, monthly online visitors, and weekly radio listeners must be converted to daily unique audiences.  A little basic math gets us to a credible number.

A cubit is a cubit. An impression is an impression.  Just like the cubit was the Egypt’s standard block with which to build pyramids, our impressions count is the standard unit to build media measurements.  An impression should represent one person who had the opportunity to consume your content.  Inflation with multiples, rounding up and “dummy” numbers for unknown values only discredits our measurements in our customers’ eyes.  Puffing up our counting doesn’t tell a truthful story and could lead to expensive strategic mistakes when new decisions are made based on exaggerations.

Counting well depends on understanding the media channel.  Media measurement only becomes valuable when we count impressions accurately across all media channels.  Download our Counting Basics guide to avoid common mistakes in counting.  Use these standards to produce credible measurement.  We want to learn realistically and discover actionable strategies for future communication efforts.

A brief history of numbers and counting, Part 1: Mathematics advanced with civilization | Deseret News  

Hack Your Facebook Insights Data

PRSA Western District was the first audience to hear our “secret sauce” for going Beyond Facebook Insights.   It’s not enough to look at the Facebook Insights in the native dashboard at your branded page.   In order to study what works, test and learn, and supply data to marketing mix analysis exercises you’ll have to move beyond single-page displays of data to apply measurement across brands and across tactics and to compare content variations.  We have 6 hacks that take you to a new, more meaningful way to evaluate effectiveness for our brands.

#1     Get The Data, Keep It, Combine It

Export the data.  Export the page level Facebook Insights.  Export the post level Facebook Insights.  Put them into a spreadsheet or database that combines them together.  How else could you compare them side by side or evaluate common elements that cross brands?

#2    Improve It

Add a little math to your data.  Calculate an engagement rate for every post, an average engagement rate for any set of posts, and an average and total reach for that set of posts.  In general, you should compare engagement and reach as the elementary metrics for analysis.

#3    Search & Discover In It

What do you want to study?  All the posts with a certain keyword? Which content gets the most reach?  Which calls to action get the most engagement?  Now that you have the data in your own little repository,  slice it and dice it to evaluate the engagement and reach for any subset of the posts you’ve made.  Don’t forget to separate paid and organic posts – they behave very differently.

#4    Categorize It

In order to segment Facebook posts by themes or tactics that are not evident in a key word search, add a few elements that describe each post in ways that allow you to compare groups of posts with different characteristics.

#5     Visualize ItScreen Shot 2015-03-26 at 10.48.48 PM

Make a graph with those basic metrics (engagement and reach).  What can you notice about patterns and trends that helps you to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t?  Graphs give us a visual way to see where success lies.

#6    Get It In the Mix

Now total the reach of your posts by week and proudly take that and the costs for your Facebook posts and let them stand side by side with other marketing tactics in your company’s mix models.  Prove that your posts affected sales or other brand outcomes.  Compare return on investment with other digital marketing and communication efforts.  You will be surprised at how well they compare.

Out of the Blue – A Resource For You

This blog will be a resource for all who need to learn about media measurement, from basic to advanced measurement concepts.  We hope that you will feel free to ask questions or start a conversation with us.   We will try to answer and educate when you need an expert.  We’ll help you be the best at measuring your media successes.

Communications professionals continue to need to measure and validate their work.  Qualitative and quantitative measurements are more important than ever before.  Social platforms offer us raw data that can be used to study what works, test and learn and engage consumers as no other media channel has done before.

Blue Marble remains committed to the science of traditional and social media measurement. Our mission includes the development of technology that puts data, outcomes and insights into your hands.