They suggests that as traditional web tools are designed specifically to address one issue or problem it’s easy to measure their ROI. Measuring ROI on social web tools is more difficult since social tools can address several issues/problems at the same time and have multiple uses. Also – and perhaps most significantly – social websites are not really controlled by the producer but shaped and developed according to the community using it.
So…… the solution, Headshift suggests, is “[m]easurement is possible when implemented, a posteriori. Back to basics.”
Or more specifically I would suggest, back to front.That is, setting made-up metrics, targets, returns, whatever… implies you can judge what your website is going to do or achieve specifically before you build it.
But what direction the site goes in once it’s built or set loose into the live web is determined by its users. So the best way to measure it’s effectiveness or success is to set measurement targets after the site has launched and it becomes clear where the community is taking it.
Or more broadly:
“The major shift we need concerns tools and our relationship with them. One lesson organisations can take from Web 2.0 is that social software is not some kind of “Deus ex-machina” – in fact, no single tool is. Tools that pretend to be one-size-fits-all solutions are aimed at lazy IT and procurement departments, not business people.”
And once we accept that, then we need to adjust our understanding of how to measure these sites and their relationship with users. A relationship ultimely controlled and directed by the users themselves.