Facebook company pages are like websites in the 1990s: everybody wants one but we’re not sure why. Marketers know how valuable social media can be to their cause. However, proving that value can be a different story. Do you know what impact Facebook, Twitter and blogs are having on your campaign outcomes? Are you monitoring user-created comments and reviews? Tracking and analysing these things can help you maximise the impact of your efforts – here are some tips for measurement and analysis in the social media world:

Getting the complete picture

Incorporating data from Twitter, Facebook, blogs and more into your online marketing platform gives you a unique perspective on how your social media exposure is impacting your entire marketing mix. The behaviour of visitors when they’re away from your website enriches your understanding of their preferences, and helps you understand which types of marketing offers will help to drive them to convert. You can achieve this level of insight by tracking data over time, to create a unique profile for each visitor, including both on site and off site activity.

Ensure your attribution includes every step

Capturing the impact of your marketing messages on very visitor, customer and prospect, even if they don’t take immediate action on that message, means you can understand the impact of every campaign on every conversion. Determining which of these un-clicked assets were viewed during the conversion process and attributing their value to an eventual customer-driven event helps you make the right decisions when determining which social media sites are best suited for off site display ads, widgets and videos.

Understand the impact and value of video

Investing in video without understanding what kind of effect it’s having on your marketing results is a lost opportunity – and wasted money. Capturing a greater level of information makes it possible for you to get a clear picture of the return on your (no doubt) significant video advertising investment, while incorporating video metrics into a broader understanding of the success of your marketing programs.

Take advantage of user-generated content for re-marketing

Tracking and analysing user-generated content is a great way to optimise future campaigns and to showcase your highest rated products and services. Decisions about your products and services are being influenced by customer ratings, user feedback and other user-generated content, and it’s often happening away from your website. Use this content for product recommendations, and prioritise ‘highest rated’ or ‘most popular’ items as part of a product recommendations strategy.

How this affects your bottom line

Understanding how an investment in internet applications contributes to your bottom line means you can make smart decisions about what kind of media to employ – and how much to invest in it.

Facebook applications and website widgets are extremely popular vehicles for driving website traffic. However, to ensure you are making the right decision for your campaign, you need to know how much influence they have on website visits, pages views, and any conversion events such as orders and bookings.

Like any valuable marketing tool, engaging and understanding how social media outlets can increase or improve our online marketing efforts is vital in determining its place in our campaigns moving forward. We just need to ensure that, like other marketing activities, we are actively measuring and analysing the real effects they are having on conversions and our bottom line.

This is my personal blog. The views expressed here are my own and do not represent those of my employer, IBM.