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Online Ad Group Helps Track Social Media ROI

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently issued guidelines for social media advertising and standards for measuring the effectiveness of social ad campaigns to help marketers grappling with how to track such branding efforts.

New guidelines come at a time when advertisers are trying to determine how to quantify their return on investment when trying to capitalize on the phenomenal popularity of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

To define the key elements of social advertising and showcase best practices for consumer control and privacy, the (IAB) announced the release of "Social Advertising Best Practices," the next step in the IAB's ongoing efforts to build the advertising infrastructure of social media.

It provides publishers, agencies and marketers with recommendations on to successfully execute social advertising campaigns. Key components of the guide include standardized terms and definitions of the elements of a social ad and how social advertising differs from other online display advertising.

Also included is a library of examples showing a variety of ways to execute marketing messages in social media, recommendations for consumer policies on opt-in and opt-out procedures and privacy guidelines for publishers, agencies and marketers regarding data gathering, consumer disclosure and usage of consumer information.

"Industry standards are essential to making social media easy, safe and scalable for advertisers," Seth Goldstein, CEO of Socialmedia.com and co-chair of the IAB's UGC Social Media Committee, said in a statement. "The new IAB framework is a critical first step in this direction and we are excited to help enable the next generation of social advertising."

In response to the growing trend, companies such as BuzzLogic and Meteor Solutions are offering new tools and services designed to track social media campaigns.

In fact, BuzzLogic today launched a reporting and analytics dashboard designed to allow advertisers to track social media campaigns on its blog ad network that includes some of the IAB metrics.

Called the Conversational Advertising Dashboard, the free service provides traditional analytics on clicks and impressions, but also includes the IAB metrics for content posted at blogs. The dashboard provides metrics within each "conversation" being targeted, including the IAB social media metrics that measure conversation size, site relevance, author credibility and content freshness.

"The conversation density of a site is an important metric from the IAB, because it shows for a topic I've selected, how pertinent the content is. For example, if you sell healthy snack bars, and you want to sell to parents, you want to be showing ads at blogs where there's a lot of conversation around healthy foods, or organic foods or making healthy lunches," Courtney Hughes, BuzzLogic vice president of strategic sales, told InternetNews.com.. "Basically, it will show you where you need to be, which is at sites with a high conversation density around healthy eating."

BuzzLogic's Conversation Ad Network is comprised of about 3,000 blogs and includes sites such SearchEngineLand.com. The company also uses its targeting technology to connect advertisers with influential bloggers and groups of blogs across third-party networks such as Adify, Google AdSense and BlogAds. Overall, BuzzLogic reached an audience of 33 million unique visitors in May, according to comScore.