FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (7/23/09)--Measuring the effectiveness of social media campaigns is difficult for interactive marketers, according to a new study by Forrester Research, which could have implications for credit union marketers considering use of social media channels. Of the 119 interactive marketers asked between May and June to rank such measurement capabilities on a scale of 1 to 10--“1” being “novice” and “10” being “expert”--the average response was 4.5 (LoneStar Leaguer July 22). The average is ambitious considering that social media is still less than four years old, said Emily Riley, Forrester Research analyst and report author. Few respondents reported having any established metrics for their social marketing campaigns. On average, marketers’ confidence in measuring the effect of their online brand-building wasn’t much better--5.3 out of 10. To measure the value of all types of online campaigns, marketers must focus on a customer’s engagement. However, online brand marketers rely on easy metrics, with 35% reporting they used clicks as a key performance indicator, Riley said. Engagement beyond activity can be measured for brand and direct campaigns, although only 14% of respondents reported tracking brand awareness as a key performance indicator, Riley said. Mature measurement of interactive brand marketing should include qualitative research gathered through surveys, focus groups, or listening platforms, she added. Advanced direct-response marketers should measure as far along the purchase process as possible, Forrester recommends. The University of Phoenix, for example, links its site analytics tool to its customer database to measure the quality of the leads--based on length of time enrolled--generated by its different online campaigns. Also, social media measurement should employ a variety of metrics. Marketers should start with brand-oriented--key performance indicators--for their social campaigns and then tie the involvement and interaction aspects of social media to purchase behavior, Forrester said.