It’s this kind of aggravating nonsense and irresponsible writing that sets the field of marketing measurement back years.  And infuriatingly, it is read by a lot of people.

The first paragraph: “Measuring marketing spending used to be pretty easy, at least in theory: You’d run a big ad campaign and then see if your sales rose. If they did, great. If not, then you wasted your money.”

False.  It has never been easy, or at least easy to do it correctly.  Marketing can be a big driver, and it can have a very high ROI, but it simply is never as big  as other factors like Pricing, Macroeconomics, and sometimes even weather.  So trying to divine the marketing impacts without first controlling for all those other factors is plain folly.

Another howler:  “Such data is attractive to marketers. If nothing else, it provides an answer to company bean counters’ questions about social media ROI.”

Attractive?  Perhaps.  But an answer to bean counters’ questions about ROI?  Nope.  As I’ve discussed, these “last touch” metrics are prone to all sorts of misattribution.  The article even mentions a promotion in which a brand held a contest for Facebook fans which required recruiting others to like the brand as well.  I’m hard pressed to think of a better example for building “junk likes.”

The closing line: “When it comes to the question of social media marketing ROI, the answer is still that old Facebook standard: It’s complicated.”

A light at the end of the tunnel.  Despite the above, this is the only statement that suggests that there are subtle nuances to measurement.