New books on Social Media Metrics, Social Analytics, Facebook and Online Listening

Posted by: in Analytics on August 5, 2011

A couple of new books have just appeared, including my own that make summer reading more exciting, if your interested in Social Analytics, or some aspect of it.

For example, John Lovett’s book, Social Media Metrics Secrets just came out and I immediately bought a copy (Kindle version).  John and I compared notes at the Radian6 User Conference last April and his book focuses on change control management a sound Social Measurement program in your organization, written by a consummate IT Analyst who now is part of Web Analytics Demystified Consultancy.   John Lovett’s book seems to be more for high end, serious implementers but gives away enough hacks that anyone can build Social Analytics measurement into their organization if the really want to, without really getting bogged down  by costs to implement.

Another book that is probably more “entertaining”, judging from the title and the little bit I’ve read so far is Marty Wientraub’s book Killer Facebook Ads book which I’m hoping to read in full, soon.  I heard Marty speak at Socialize 2011 this spring in NYC and he a captivated audience listening to his every word at 4PM on a lazy spring day – a major achievement, if you ask me.  Marty had figured out how to fully harness Facebook Advertising, and do it on the cheap – he has is own agency that does just that in Minnesota, but he gave his ideas, secrets and salt of his own experience to the audience and now, in his book.  Of course, I bought his book too, and it’s on my iPad Kindle, waiting to be fully read along with John Lovett’s book (… fun reading ahead)!

But it’s also interesting to note that Facebook Advertising can be done effectively and for very inexpensively and get much better results than Google provides, because you know exactly “who” your targeting … and that information is verified by people having accounts on Facebook who have supplied information about themselves.  Facebook also provides targeting that is based not so much on what people say they do or believe in, but what their behavior and activities on Facebook comprise of.

In fact, The Online Campaign Ratings system that Nielsen is releasing this month promises to create out of Facebook, the new Nielsen Family testing ground, away from TV and onto Social Media.  As has been pointed out in the following article – “.. until now, online advertising worked fine for direct response advertising–the kind that asks you take action, usually to buy something–but not as well for brand advertising“.  In Facebook Is The New Nielsen Family by Fast Company writer E.B. Boyd writes that…..

…… Since the first banner ad alighted on top of a web page sometime around the end of last century, online advertising has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the media world. It gets no respect.

But that might soon change, thanks to a new service from the Nielsen Company. The Online Campaign Ratings system, which rolls out later this month, promises to measure brand advertising online more like the way it measures brand advertising on television–by identifying which demographics actually see each ad.

This will allow advertisers to make apple-to-apple comparisons between the new medium, whose impact on brand advertising has remained elusive, and the old medium, in whose powers brands have complete confidence. As a result, advertisers may finally be willing to invest more online, and possibly even pay more for the privilege.

The way this all works is pretty ingenious and I’m surprised no one appears to have thought of it before – or maybe, it was a case of not having the where with all to implement this solution till now.

….. Here’s how it works: Advertisers tag their ads and then place them on their targeted sites around the web. When the ads are viewed, the ads make a call to Facebook, which then searches its own user database to identify the viewer of the ad. Facebook then gathers up that person’s demographic information and sends it to Nielsen. Nielsen is then able to report back to advertisers who saw their ads in a particular campaign.

However, the article also pointed out that we need to look beyond Facebook – and that Facebook could only provide about 42% of the online audiences’ identity – but that’s much better than what we’ve had up till now:

“…. Only about half of Americans are on the social network which means that OCR can only provide accurate demographics on about 42%, on average, of a campaign’s impressions, Buchwalter says. So Nielsen will still have to bring in more publishers to play the same role as Facebook and fill in the remaining gaps.

Still, 42% is much better than zero. “It’s transforming the industry’s ability to trust this kind of data,” Buchwalter says.

There’s also a book on Social Technology that was  crowd sourced it’s creation – Enterprise Social Technology is a book bought last week because I was intrigued on how it was done – curious to see how well asking experts to supply information that ends up becoming a book could actually work.  While I did much the same thing with Social Media Analytics, that came out of personal contact with thought leaders in the field, asking  case studies and interviews from them form which I amplified my own ideas; it’s quite another thing to crowd source the creation of a book from people don’t know each other well and wonder if the model can be applied to other tasks.  I’m thinking more of the approach of crowd sourcing, not so much any particular application of it.

Well, that’s it for the reading list for Social Analytics this summer – if we’d all read these books, we’d be 100% smarter on how to leverage Social Media Metrics, Facebook Ads and Social Technology in the Enterprise.


By: Marshall Sponder

Marshall Sponder is a frequent guest speaker at analytics conferences and blogs at

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3 Responses

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  1. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I was just looking for a little summer reading around the topic of Social Analytics. Thanks for giving us a mention and thanks so much for this great suggested reading list.

    Best wishes,
    Community Manager | Radian6

  2. Thanks Trish – glad to help, a lot of good stuff just appeared on Social Media Analytics and Metrics – happy reading and happy analytics!


  3. Marshall,

    Very helpful! Can’t wait to dive in.

    Best wishes,
    Community Manager | Radian6

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