Emily Riley

We all have read the headlines:


Jones Movie sells out 25,000 “gifts” on Facebook. The New York Times gets 200k fans in two days. Ray Ban sees millions forward viral video to friends.

That’s good, right? Or wait; what does any of that even mean? What exactly IS good?

Every marketer wants to measure the true value of their social marketing campaigns but doing so remains an elusive goal. Especially with budgets being so squeezed lately, proving that your efforts have value is really important.

How can you tell if your campaign was a success?

 In our survey, we found that social marketers have the following issues with their companies' current use of measurement metrics:

General negativity. Sixty-eight percent of social marketers believe that it is difficult to compare the results of various social marketing campaigns.

Room for improvement. Less than one-third of social marketers believe that their companies do a good job measuring the results of their social marketing campaigns.

Stuck in isolation. Only 30% of social marketers feel they are able to accurately compare their social marketing results with those of other marketing channels.

There is a way to start measuring your social marketing campaigns accurately, by using attribution.

What is attribution? It’s the process of connecting the dots from your early funnel campaigns to more concrete later funnel metrics. In order for you to account for the value of the wide variety of social interactions with online users, you will need to answer three questions:

1) How do my social marketing campaigns align not only with my goals but with a consumer's mindset or purchase phase across channels?

2) What other channels do my social campaigns compare to or compete with?

3) What measurement practices must be in place to fairly attribute credit to social interactions?

To answer these questions and simplify the process of attribution, Forrester has created a three-step process we call "block-and-tackle" attribution:

Block: Create buckets of goals matched with consumer mindsets. The first step is to systematically determine what mindset a consumer might be in and ensure that the goal of the campaign matches it, with different goal/mindset groups in different buckets. Traditional buckets include brand awareness, product consideration, product purchase, but you can certainly use your own. For example, a person reading posts about getting a good deal on a truck message board would be in a research or consideration mindset.

Align: Match similar efforts across channels. Social marketing doesn't exist separately from other marketing channels. The next step is to match up other marketing efforts that compete for a consumer's attention when she is in a particular mindset and add them to the correct bucket. A Facebook campaign might be compared to a site sponsorship or microsite for example.

Tackle: Employ relevant metrics to allow for correct comparisons. The last part of the process is to "tackle" the attribution problem by choosing specific methods of measurement for each separate bucket across channels that align with your goals. By focusing on only a few specific metrics that tie directly to one bucket, you will cut out the clutter and be able to create a more complete picture of performance.

Remember, the key to measurement success is to be able to compare similar efforts across channels with common metrics.

Let us know if you’re interested in setting up Block-and-Tackle measurement for your own campaigns. We’d be happy to help.