Channel attribution – or determining which marketing channel is responsible for results – is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for marketers. Gone are the days where we could spend whatever we wanted on our channels of choice; today’s marketer has to select channels carefully, and justify their inclusion in the budget with demonstrable ROI and accountability. “We’ve always done it this way and I know it works,” is giving way to “A dollar in this channel drives more results than a dollar over there, so I’m shifting budget.” Social Magnet was developed to facilitate decisions about budget and resource allocation, by showing marketers exactly how different channels are contributing towards marketing results.

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about how Social Magnet allows marketers to measure the Monthly Reach of their various channels. Reach is important, but by itself is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Does a tweet carry the same impact as an unread email spied in the inbox? Do status updates ultimately compel action? One way to get at the answers to these questions is through Social Magnet, where you can easily measure the number of clicks each of your channels generates – in total and by content categories you determine.

In the Reports tab, simply run a Comparative Report on Overall Statistics for any date range you like. Here’s what our past 30 days looks like:

Click to enlarge.

The report generates a table and charts that tell the story. Red is email – the chart on the left shows that there were far fewer email messages than Facebook or Twitter, while the right side pie chart reveals that that small number of messages was nevertheless responsible for a significant percentage of the clicks. The table at the top bears this out: the 6 email messages over the past month generated 635 clicks, or about 106 clicks per message.

The real story here though is the light blue on the pie charts, for Twitter. Because the channel allows for much higher frequency, the total number of messages is very large – 85 over the course of the month, or about 21 per business day. These tweets drove the lion’s share of clicks for the month as well: 1137 clicks, or over 60% of the monthly total.  That works out to 13 clicks per tweet, which by itself isn’t going to win anybody a promotion to CMO. But slow and steady wins the race here, and despite messages that drive only about 13% as many clicks as an email message, the cumulative impact over the month is sizable. Remarkable, even.

You can look at productivity (or total clicks per channel) over any time period, but I like Monthly because normalizing time for frequency is necessary. You need a long enough period for all of your channels to cycle through at least once. Longer is always better for that reason, but running monthly allows you to monitor trends month to month as well.

Social Magnet also allows you to run similar reports, but filtered to certain categories you choose. For example, we categorize messages into Webinar Promotions, Newsletters and others, so we can see which channels are more adept at certain content types. I’ll dig much deeper on category reporting another day.