Social media receives a massive amount of attention on the web and attracts a great deal of interest from marketers, too. The primary complaint of those who invest seems to be consistent: it’s hard to measure the impact to the bottom line.

This post is here to help. In it, I’ll try to take a brief look at the topics surrounding this problem and offer some solutions, tools and methodologies to make things easier.

Why + where social matters
Social media has an analytics problem. Whereas many other sources – ads, organic search, referrals, bookmarks – all drive traffic that directly converts (I.E. Results in a purchase/signup action), social traffic is very temporal. Visitors from twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+, stumbleupon, et al. Are known to visit a page and quickly depart. This leaves marketers struggling to understand the value of these channels. High bounce rates, low browse rates and awful conversion rates make social the black sheep of the referring traffic sources.

I’ll try to explain the problem, and the reason why social still matters, despite these poor metrics, in visual form:

Conversion funnel featuring social media

On the web, visitors are rarely Dubai Business Fax List buyers (or “Conversion action” takers of any kind) on a first visit. The web’s a tool for discovery, research and investigation and people employ it that way. They browse around, find things that are interesting, discover potential needs or desires, further examine the options and eventually make a purchase decision.


Lifecycle of brand impressions prior to conversion

Fax Lists

Twitter and facebook are early on in the process, likely prior to this customer’s realization of need or knowledge of the product. Social channels are likely to be partially responsible for thousands of free trials at seomoz, but given the tools currently EF Leads available, we’d have a very tough time figuring out just how much social participation and presence brought to the company.

Another great illustration of this phenomenon comes via eloqua’s content grid, which explores the types of content shared on various channels (including social media) and its impact on the buying process.

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