Opinion: From our readers - Beware an unhealthy obsession with ROI

Carolyn Watt's comments about the PR industry's difficulties with 'ROI measurements' in the Volvo story are interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, social media offer the best opportunity for the industry as a whole to measure the impact of our campaigns. Historically, the biggest problem hasn't been that we don't know what or how to measure; it has been the disproportionate cost of measurement compared with client budgets.

Second, an unhealthy obsession with ROI may prove the downfall of media companies. If they see social media as little more than a tool to get their clients higher search engine rankings or traffic to their site, then media agencies might tend to steer their social media tactics towards things such as link-building and away from things such as building relationships, earning attention and taking part in the conversations that surround their clients' brands.

Media agencies' margins are being pushed hard by clients right now. Digital PR is an area where they can be seen not only to offer some value-add in the short term, but also higher margins in the medium. Fair play to them, but let's not pretend it's about ROI.

Jean Wyllie, president of EMEA, Porter Novelli

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