Chapter 13: Tracking the KPIs of Social Media

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on The Moz Blog in September of 2011. While marketers still struggle to measure the impact social marketing activities have on the bottom line, the gap between social and ROI is narrowing. This progress can be attributed in part to the increased sophistication of many of the social media management and analytics tools mentioned in this post—including Followerwonk, which was acquired by Moz last summer.

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 in it seems to be consistent: It's hard to measure the impact on the bottom line. On this point, I must concede. While social is an exciting new area for online marketers, its value isn't always commensurate with the effort required. Even when it is, it's tough to prove that point to clients or executives.

This chapter is here to help you improve your ability to track the impact of your social media actions. In it, I take a brief look at the topics surrounding this problem, and offer some solutions, tools, and methodologies to make things easier.

Why and Where Social Matters

Social media has an analytics problem. Whereas many other sources—ads, organic search, referrals, bookmarks—drive traffic that directly converts into a desired action (such as a purchase or signup), social traffic is temporal. Visitors ...

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