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Are We Measuring the Right Stuff for Social Media’s Marketing Impact?

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Adobe has released second Adobe® Digital Index report, which provides marketing, e-commerce and retail executives with digital marketing data. The research looked at how marketers measure the impact of website traffic from major social media sites. The most common measure of impact is the last-click attribution. However, this may cause marketers to undervalue social media’s website impact by up to 94 percent. The report argues that first-click attribution models more accurately capture the benefits of social media in engaging customers earlier in the buying process. It concludes that the significant differences in the results of first-click vs. last-click attribution data for various social media sites may cause marketers to change how they allocate the budgets across social and other digital channels.

They go to explain their rationale for using first click attribution. “Last-click attribution assumes that the marketing channel most responsible for a consumer’s behavior is the channel the consumer last touched before a visit or purchase. First-click places responsibility on the channel the consumer first touched. Social media creates an environment in which brands can build awareness and engage with prospective and existing customers early in the purchase process. By ignoring the value of these earlier interactions, last-click attribution gives disproportionate credit to the marketing channels customers use late in the purchase process, potentially undervaluing the role of other channels in building awareness, engagement, and ongoing relationships between customers and brands. In contrast, first-click attribution gives social media more credit for these earlier interactions. The difference between last-click and first-click is significant and has the potential to change the way companies allocate social media budgets.”

This makes a lot of sense to me. The report looked at sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, YouTube, and Yelp. These are often used as pointers to other sites. For example, I often use Twitter to drive traffic to my blog or to a company Web site. So you need to measure this pointer impact to really determine success. This is one thing we examine at Darwin. It is why tools such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Typepad give you referring sites

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