Using the 3As to demystify social media measuring and monitoring


Company’s put their focus and resources into programs that produce a high return on investment (ROI). As the social media manager you can use the 3As to measure how social media engagement supports your business objectives.

  • Action: Business results of online outreach
  • Attitude: Overall sentiment and relationship measures
  • Attention: The overall volume of interest

Start by keeping a list of everything you can and must measure (see page 197 in Social Media ROI by Oliver Blanchard). You also need to tie everything you measure to business objectives. Most importantly, test, measure, learn, adapt and repeat. Blanchard also recommends looking at F.R.Y. (View YouTube video), which is frequency, or number of transactions per month; reach, or number of new customers; and yield, or total transactions.

Look at what each department is measuring and what measures should be reported on at the overall program management level. Compare apples to apples. Identify if you are measuring financial outcomes (weighing the Return on Investment – Gain-Cost/Cost) or nonfinancial outcomes – intermediate metrics that tell the story by capturing changes in customer behaviour.

You can measure Action by tracking the results of your company’s online presence. To do this look at your campaigns key performance indicators (KPIs) such as tracking website or online store visits, volume of purchases, event registration, attendees, higher customer service satisfaction, etc.

Establish a baseline of activity (action your customers/audience take) and outcomes. Next, create and share activity timelines that show how each department’s efforts overlap. This combination of activity will help you determine what information is relevant. For example if your company launches a Facebook page (Action) and the public responds by opting in and you see an increase in brand mentions (Attention) and an increase in positive sentiment (Attitude) you may also see that sales reported an increase in net new transactions. Using a graph you can plot the action, reaction, impact (outcome) and result (conversions).

Keep in mind that none of these measures and analysis can provide meaningful value without context. They must be viewed as part of a collaborative analysis. For example, as you explore results you may find that there are other factors influencing the sales reports such as a price drop, a positive product review, shortage of inventory, etc.

Measuring Attitude allows you to gauge audience connections to build better relationships. Tracking how people feel about your organization you can measure your audience’s emotional connection. To do this successfully you need to track sentiment, satisfaction and relationship to your brand through constant monitoring of your online presence. There are tools on the market but this is best done by humans. Only people can interpret context and tone to determine if a negative comment really is negative or if the comment is just worded in a way that appears negative to an automated tool.

One way to track sentiment is to review Facebook posts and likes, Twitter retweets and blog product reviews. Likes and retweets of positive sentiment could show an impact on sales. Using Twitter to respond to negative customer service issues could create stronger loyalty and retention that may lead to an increase in frequency and yield of customer transactions.

Measuring Attention allows you to look at your brands likeability with your audience. This can be achieved by counting followers, volume of blog traffic, rankings, number of posts, retweets and mentions on Twitter, links and likes. It’s important to connect these measures to the actions that are drawing attention. This will tell you what they like on Facebook or why they are following you on Twitter. This information helps you to maximize activities that receive positive action and continue to engage your loyal influencers.

By evaluating which social media activities are driving results you can understand what works, what doesn’t and why to justify investments and measure their value to your organization.

Check out this link that talks about the 5A’s of social media measurement (The Five As of Social Media Measurement).


3 thoughts on “Using the 3As to demystify social media measuring and monitoring

  1. I think its so tough to prove to the big executives at the top of an organization that a social media campaign is a worthy investment. Even if you show them positive results of people responding to your messages/posts/tweets, most may still not be convinced it is a good investment. Unless we put them in dollar signs I feel as though it is a very tough barrier to crack. Throughout this week’s reading I have been thinking about this, how can somebody who wants to see profits look at a social media proposal which targets quantity in followers, likes and comments and envision the gain when in the future? Sure consumers responding positively is a great step, but the “Action” part is the one CEOs are interested in.

    • I agree. The biggest challenge for PR practitioners is to tie nonfinancial outcomes to financial ones (page 223). I found Blanchard’s Rule#1 that ROI is a business metric, not a media metric AND Rule #2 ROI is 100% media-agnostic helpful advice. As well, as ensuring that all departments are engaged in evaluating program outcomes due to overlap.

  2. I really like that you posted a video. It was a great summary to the chapter on F.R.Y. that was in our readings for the week (although I do with he had filmed it in a location that had less wind noise! But I digress….)

    Completely agree with you both. Although tying non-financial outcomes to financial ones is a challenge, it is absolutely essential in order to obtain funding. As Blanchard stated in the video, you need to tailor your message to your audience. And if you’re trying to convince someone whose business language deals in dollars, speaking to numbers and gains on investments can help them to understand how social media is able to help achieve business objectives.

    I think as “creative” types, we tend to not want to think about numbers. I know I don’t! But if we want to be able to measure our success, we have to think strategically.

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