With media outlets focusing more and more on digital, it’s critical that they are able to present these results to advertisers. One of the tools they can use during their sales pitches to local and national businesses is the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Consolidated Media Report.
According to the ABC website, the Consolidated Media Report “is an innovative report that allows newspaper publishers to show advertisers their total audience” through print, digital editions, mobile and social media. This report is also used for magazines and business publications.
Social Media Reporting
Every day, publishers are exploring new ways to reach new audiences online, and one of those ways is social media – from Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest to Google+, Instagram to LinkedIn, Tumblr to foursquare.
It’s not mandatory for newspapers to include social media metrics in their Consolidated Media Reports. But they should anyway.
Social media is an important part of a news organization’s brand story. This is how readers engage with the newspaper and other readers – whether it’s through comments, likes or shares on Facebook; retweets and replies on Twitter; or repins on Pinterest.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations would do good, though, to review what information is included when it comes to social media in the Consolidated Media Report.
Here’s a rundown of what metrics can be reported from the following social media platforms:
- Facebook: Number of likes;
- Foursquare: Number of users;
- Google+: Number of members in a circle;
- Instagram: Number of followers;
- LinkedIn: Number of group members;
- Pinterest: Number of followers;
- Tumblr: Number of followers; and
- Twitter: Number of followers.
Social Media Engagement is Key
Here’s the problem, though. Social media measurement isn’t all about numbers.
As a matter of fact, a publisher could have a high follower count and not very much engagement. The engagement is what’s most important.
Publishers should make sure their sales team members provide additional social media metrics to potential advertisers besides what is included in the Consolidated Media Report.
There are a whole slew of tools they can use to create social media reports – everything from Facebook Insights to Google Analytics, and many of them are free. Social media analytics tools allow newspaper publishers to set goals – called conversions – and create reports based on those, whether it’s engagement, sales, etc… It’s important that these reports document both quantitative and qualitative analyses.
Susan Cantor over at ABC pointed me to several newspapers who have included social media metrics in their Consolidated Media Reports: Honolulu Star, Austin American-Statesman, Chicago Tribune, and The National Post (in Canada).