Adam T. Sutton

Measuring Social is Vital

February 19th, 2010

Measuring your marketing is the only way to know which efforts are working and which are wasting money. Even if you can’t measure every impact, you should track as much as possible.

After looking at some data from MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report, I wonder how many campaigns are only half-measured, with half their impact open to anyone’s guess.

When asked ‘What is your organization monitoring and measuring to quantify social media impact?’ 50% or more respondents said they were tracking:
o Visitors and traffic sources
o Followers, fans and members numbers
o Commentary about brand or product
o Sentiment around brand or product.

Fewer than 50% of respondents said they were tracking:
o Search engine rank
o Lead generation
o Progress toward social media objectives
o Engagement with influential bloggers, journalists, Twitterers, etc.
o Sales conversion and other ROI metrics
o Competitive share of social media coverage
o Criteria to identify and profile audiences

Astoundingly, only 35% of respondents said they were tracking sales conversion and other ROI metrics related to social media.

Getting more website traffic, Facebook fans and comments is very good. But if you’re not sure whether that’s having an effect on lead generation or sales, many executives will ask: what’s the point?

Marketers across the globe are finding use with social media. But if you want the rest of your organization to take it seriously and to invest more in the channel, you should learn as much about its impact as possible. The data talks.

If social media is helping you learn more about your audience, get data on how that knowledge is improving your marketing. If it’s helping your brand’s image, find a way to quantify it. Hypothetical evidence is as solid as a wet paper towel compared to hard data.

Is your team measuring its social media impact? If not, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments…

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Research And Measurement, Social Networking Evangelism Community Tags: , , ,

  1. February 19th, 2010 at 10:51 | #1

    This is very indicative of what we find as a whole – a lack of marketing metrics. Marketing is an Art, but also a science. We try to help customers with both.

  2. February 19th, 2010 at 16:29 | #2


    Thanks for pointing out one of the most frequently overlooked aspects of a social media campaign. If we don’t measure our results how are we supposed to know what working and what isn’t? If we don’t know what’s not working how can we make changes to it? If we don’t know what’s working – how do we know to keep refining those tactics??

    Thanks for a great article.

  3. February 20th, 2010 at 20:04 | #3

    Yes, we do a study among tech companies in India every yeaar; our fifth study is complete and should be published soon. The lack of measurements in marketing stands out, and as a result, the marketing function is hardpressed to go back to management for more budgets. While I am not a fan of overengineering the metrics, I think that some proof of outcomes will help marketers to expand the reach of their programs. This is especially true of social media where the buzz is so high but real knowledge especially with business heads is not (on the benefits and impact).

  4. February 23rd, 2010 at 04:21 | #4

    At INgage Networks, we measure all of the above when it comes to valuating our social media efforts. Best KPIs have been visitor traffic, lead generation, search engine rank, influentials engagement, number of followers, and unsolicited customer evangelist testimonials. Good list. Thanks for sharing.

  5. February 23rd, 2010 at 13:18 | #5

    Hi Everyone–thank you for your comments. I wanted to mention that we published the chart I referenced above. Here’s the URL:

    Check it out for the stats

  6. February 24th, 2010 at 17:14 | #6


    This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. Consistent closed-loop lead tracking and analysis is usually the weakest link in my clients’ marketing plans.

  7. March 1st, 2010 at 21:19 | #7

    Nice post. I used to run a web hosting firm with tens of thousands of business clients. Many businesses get hung up on fuzzy metrics (like ‘views’) when there may be nothing especially actionable with that piece of data by itself – mainly because that data is easy to come by. When the conversation (and maybe the action) takes place outside your website there’s a challenge in tracking lead, contact, or sales data back to the specific source. For ex. it’s difficult to pinpoint the specific social media group that generated the inquiry you got through your Web contact form. Especially difficult is correlating all the disparate data from all channels back to the ‘needle movers’ you mention in your post. We’re taking a stab at this with a new Web app we’re creating.

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