Measuring engagement – a dilemma beyond social media

Measuring engagement – a dilemma beyond social media





Measuring engagement – a dilemma beyond social media


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

When are you most deeply engaged with content? It’s a fine question in and of itself but if you’re a marketer – or specifically someone who measures how effective campaigns are – it’s a bit more serious.

Does the mention of a brand, let’s say positively, in a tweet carry as much weight as a mention in a documentary film or a book in which the consumer of that content is deeply immersed? How about at a live event?

Let’s assume equal quality and quantity of audience. You could be watching the documentary for 90 minutes or so, absorbed in the book for many hours. Surely they are more meaningful, in terms of how they shape someone’s opinion.

OK, let’s park that one. Let’s just say they could be more meaningful. But are we asking the wrong question? Is it simply that these long-form examples aren’t mentioned because they are hard to measure?

Photo: ‘The Measure’ by MonkeyMyshkin used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC by 2.5)

This writer recently read a book about London and above-ground walking routes that follow the underground Tube tunnels. Walk The Lines by Mark Mason was a good read.

Towards the end of that book, Mason is in north-west London. He writes:

On Neasden Lane I stop at a McDonald’s, something I can’t remember doing as an adult, but this last day seems a good time to challenge prejudices. It’s one of those trendy ones: retro sixties décor, lime-green chat-show chairs and so on. My cup of tea tastes great, the staff are friendly, the other customers largely middle-aged and lively. Prejudice duly despatched.

If that had been said over a social media channel our bet is that there’s an agency somewhere in the world employed by McDonald’s to log it and report back on it. In fact, for a brand that large that would happen thousands of times each day.

Who’s measuring the mentions in books? If you’re monitoring your reputation (ie what people say about you) then surely you need to measure it everywhere, not just where it’s easy.

It used to be that searching anything other than most books’ metadata (author, title, ISBN etc.) was hard. But how long have we had ‘Search Inside!’ from Amazon and its equivalents?

Mason’s comments about McDonald’s, coming where they did, at the end of an engaging book, and coming from someone who had won me over with his love for London and its history, carried a lot of weight.

Need to know about events? Buy the e-book, Everything In Moderation: How to chair, moderate and otherwise lead events, by Collective Content (UK) founder Tony Hallett from