Google Analytics has a great blog (http://analytics.blogspot.com) devoted to helping online analysts do a better job of assessment.
One recent post (http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/03/capturing-value-of-social-media-using.html) — with terrific charts — dealt with the topic of social media: “Measuring the value of social media has been a challenge for marketers. And with good reason: it’s hard to understand exactly what is happening in an environment where activity occurs both on and off your Web site. Since social media are often an upper funnel player in a shopper’s journey, it’s not always easy to determine which social channels actually drive value for your business and which tactics are most effective. But as the social industry matures, marketers and Web analysts need true outcome-oriented reports. After all, although social is growing in popularity, brand Web sites – not social networks – remain the place where people most often purchase or convert.”
- Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
- Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs.”