Razorfish Proposes Social Influence Score

Razorfish this week proposed a new standardized method for measuring online sentiment around a brand or industry. Its social influence measurement (SIM) score — developed in collaboration with TNS Cymfony — uses a fairly simple equation to boil the stew of online conversations about a brand down to a single, digestible figure that can be ladled out to CMOs.

Proposed as part of a new “Social Influence Marketing Report,” (available here), the score is meant to support brands’ attempts to improve net sentiment by benchmarking against themselves and their competitors. In proposing it, Razorfish released SIM scores for a number of companies and industries. Those scores were presented alongside a “net sentiment” percentage indicating the share of brand conversations that are neutral or positive.

In the financial sector, Razorfish found Bank of America commands the greatest share of voice but was the object of more negative sentiment than rivals Wells Fargo and Capital One. Thus while its SIM score is higher than those firms, its net sentiment is lower.

Among sectors, Razorfish noted auto brands are mentioned more frequently in online conversations than brands in any other industry benchmarked. Among five car makers measured, Ford boasts the highest SIM score (31) but is second to last in net sentiment, leading only GM. Toyota meanwhile performs better in net sentiment but has a relatively low SIM score of 18, suggesting a feebler share of voice.

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Shiv Singh, global social media lead at Razorfish, painted the score as an attempt to bring clarity and self-determination to the social media morass. “Brands…can’t just push messages out,” he said. “Whatever they do or don’t do they need to measure.”

The score works by calculating the total number of conversations about a brand — positive, neutral, and negative — and then subtracting the number of negative ones from the sum of the positive and neutral ones. The resulting number is then divided by the total number of conversations, producing the net sentiment. Then, the brand-specific net sentiment figure is divided again by a 100x multiple of the net sentiment attributed to each industry to produce the SIM score.

An example of how Razorfish calculated the SIM score for GM can be seen at right.

Razorfish acknowledges its score is far from perfect. For one thing it doesn’t weight conversations in terms of influence. It also does not measure offline influence.

“We believe that online and offline share of voice and sentiment numbers for all brands will need to be looked at through a single lens in the future,” the report stated. “What we have here is the first step in that direction.”

The score represents the latest attempt by an agency to create standards in online marketing, a process often left up to trade bodies and media sellers. Another such effort, in the video advertising arena, was recently undertaken by Publicis’s Vivaki digital agency unit. That project, named The Pool, is seeking consensus among media buyers and sellers on the ideal format for online video advertising.

Razorfish proposed the score amid swirling speculation about its future. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Microsoft is shopping the agency around to a number of large agency holding companies, including Publicis, WPP, Omnicom, and Dentsu.

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