Is it OK that we can’t link social media to sales?

We’re in the “I Love Lucy” era of social marketing, Farhad Manjoo writes in Fast Company—an age of ‘unaccountability.’ Is that true?

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According to research firm eMarketer, 80 percent of companies will participate in social media marketing this year. None of those companies know how to determine if those efforts will turn into sales, argues Farhad Manjoo, writing for Fast Company magazine.

“Social-media marketing often feels like a throwback to the golden age of TV: At least so far, marketers can’t predict or measure the impact of their campaigns with anything near the precision they’re used to elsewhere online,” he writes.

Take Audi, for example. A study by social-marketing analytics firm Visibli shows the automaker’s fans are the most engaged of any on Facebook. The company’s Super Bowl commercial this year included a hashtag (#ProgressIs) for the first time ever. The ad, along with a promoted tweet campaign, a contest and a big outreach to major Twitter influencers, led to a spike in online discussion of Audi.

But Audi’s general manager for social media and customer engagement, Doug Clark, said the company doesn’t know if that led to more sales or test drives.

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