Lee Odden

Tweetpoll Results on Social Media Monitoring and Measurement

Social media monitoring and social media measurement are two very different things, but I think many of the searchers and social media taggers using those phrases don’t always make the distinction. For some quick insight from a qualified audience, I turned to Twitter and within an hour had about 40 replies.

It started off with this Tweet: Twitpoll: What’s a better term: “social media monitoring” or “social media measurement”?

Many of the responses were a specific selection of “measurement” or “monitoring” but most pointed out that social media measurement and monitoring are different things. Monitoring is what you do to find information which you can then measure.

It was a pretty neat application of using Twitter for a quick poll with near immediate responses from professionals that might not respond to traditional polling methods. Below are the actual replies:

dantemonteverde social media monitoring  
jonkelly not sure 1 is better, they are just different, no?  
zenaweist two separate things (social media monitoring and social media measurement) related to each other.  
gilliatt Also important to understand what assumptions people bring to the question. PR measurement is only one possible paradigm.  
brianchappell yea they are completely different.  
mitchellhislop monitoring-something this organic cant really be “measured””  
webprgirl I like social media monitoring  
CarrieHill – i call them 2 different things also 🙂 measure = how much is said – monitor = what is said  
matt_mcgowan measurement (gets point across better)  
alexaclark Is ego-surfing an option? (But seriously I like “social media monitoring” better because “measurement” is still so imprecise)  
AdamIss – online brand management. @sexyseo, I disagree that you can’t measure SM, it’s just that there aren’t decided upon standards.  
pageoneresults Social Media Metrics?  
EdWords I would go for ‘social media monitoring’. In my opinion measuring is a way to monitor social media.  
ginakay Measurement. Monitoring sounds so… big-brother-ish…  
eristoddle measurement is less human and is being attached to social  
feydakin monitoring sounds like you are doing more “work” than just looking at a chart..  
eristoddle monitoring  
PeterHimler social media monitoring is capturing the conversation; social media measurement is what you do with it after it’s in hand >
danperry I prefer measurement
brentnau What is the context?  
gilliatt  Two different things.  
melaniephung @leeodden I think they mean completely different things, so it’s not a question of one being better than the other. What are you describing?  
revenuerobot social media monitoring  
DaveTaylor I’ll vote for “monitoring” for $20, Monty!  
jennmae I prefer social media measurement  
AaronMSB I think “social media monitoring” and “social media measurment” are separate. Mon = content. Mea = hits/conversions.  
SexySEO you can’t “measure “social media” you can only “monitor” 😉  
hjomats Depends on what you are trying to get out of it. Those two terms could be interpreted very differently  
Babiesonline depends on if you want to monitor or measure, I suppose 😉  
jtobin They are two different tools. Monitoring = listening to me. Measurement = counting results.  
organicmania Measurement. Many monitor, few know how to measure.  
adamsherk sounds like 2 different things. monitoring for tracking activity/convos and measurement for trying to assign value to the activity  
SexySEO monitoring  
MillerMosaicLLC “Measurement.” “Monitoring” sounds too big brother-ish — unless you were going for that.  
KurtKrejny social media monitoring  
BenjArriola social media analytics?  
JasonFalls They’re two different things. Watching and counting.

One of the interesting things about social media monitoring tools like the one we use from Radian6, is that you can actually see the effect of a thread like the one above. I didn’t throw out the query to Twitter for the purposes of promoting a client, although in hindsight that’s a pretty good idea as long as the client is relevant.

social media monitoring

(Mashable and Twitter graphics added)

This image shows a 3 day period tracking “social media measurement”, “social media monitoring”, “social media analytics” and “social media metrics”. For this report, only blogs and micro content (Twitter) are being monitored, although we could watch mainstream media, video, forums and images as well as extend the time frame to multiple ranges or a specific start/stop date.

You can see a spike early in the morning July 31st for “social media measurement” when an article posted to the Mashable blog, “How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business” which was also syndicated by several other sites, repeating the use of the phrase. The Radian6 tool allows you to drill down at any point in the graph and see another “river of news” report showing where the phrase was mentioned. You can further drill down and read/view the content with a built in viewer.

To the right you can see a smaller spike for “social media monitoring” which came from the today’s Twitterstream as documented in the above post. If you want to be notified on an ongoing basis, there’s an alert function built in to the reporting as well. Kind of like “Google Alerts for the social web”.

Advanced social media monitoring tools like this one will also analyze the data being monitored and measured. The monitoring begins by defining a keyword based universe to track. Then specific reports can be setup to filter the data collected by the web crawler for measurement.

For example, analyzing comments, links and engagement with an algorithm allows the system to assign scores of influence to bloggers. That helps you decide which bloggers make the most sense to reach out to.

There is no “best phrase” when it comes to social media monitoring and measurement. There are plenty of tools for monitoring social media whether it’s free tools like Google Alerts or BlogPulse. Tools that begin to measure and analyze what’s being monitored, as you can imagine, cost money.

Here are several lists of companies that offer various types of online social monitoring, measurement and analysis tools.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Thank you for such a fantastic survey analysis and for bringing clarity. You’ve created a case study that shows the power of social media and how to understand (monitor and measure) its value.

  2. Lots of great responses and a clear write up offering much needed color/context… nicely done Lee!

    When are you going to put a book out on the subject? Everyone else is doing it 🙂

  3. Thanks Dana. I’m hoping to do a full writeup and comparison of several tier one social media monitoring/analysis tools. It’s amazing what you can do. I think the big thing to emerge out of this activity is “social CRM”. More on that later. 🙂

  4. Thanks Matt. Why write a book when I can blog? 🙂

  5. Thanks for writing this article. I’m doing some research on Twitter myself and this will be a great source help document my conclusions with some sound facts.

    I saw a similar poll done recently by Joel Comm trying to measure responses in a specific time frame. These short micro polls can be very quick and easy to gather some interesting facts.

    Chris Swain

  6. Avatar Katie Paine says

    How did I miss this one! I’m very much in agreement with most of the respondants that monitoring and measurement are very different things. Measurement provides data on which you can make improvements to your program. Monitoring, even with cool tools like Radian6, just tells you what a COMPUTER finds in the blogosphere. So if someone is writing in the media about tools to measure social faux pas in New York society, chances are it will be picked up in your charts under social media measurement. So you might remind your readers that while Radian6 does a great job teaching computers to think like humans, you still need humans to think like customers (or of course you can hire KDPaine & Partners) 🙂

  7. This is a difficult one because many of the systems/tools out there do both so the line can blur.

    I think the real distinction is monitoring and monitoring systems will show you what the mentions about your brand/topics are and maybe some basic analytics.

    Measuring and measurement systems will give you the above but also look to analyse the data in more detail via human or automation. So break down in tone, demographics, key topics/phrases within the mentions and further statistics on these.

    Sentiment Metrics does both but focuses more on the analytics and measurement. One of our agency clients commented that Radian6 gave some really pretty charts, but was what they called “passive monitoring”. They found it difficult to really get to the actionable insight.

    So I would agree monitoring and measurement are two different things with a small cross over…

  8. When you asked the question yesterday I was virtually scratching my head, thinking I should DM you on your direction and didn’t get to it.

    Glad to see you were just proofing out your point about educating those stepping into the foray and nice touch weaving in Radian6’s monitoring capabilities.

    Great resource links at the end of your post, thanks Lee!


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