Tape MeasureThe last month has seen the rise of a host of new tools designed to help brands better understand the impact of their social media efforts. In mid-September, Twitter announced the advent of Twitter Web Analytics, “A tool that helps website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites.” Then at the very end of the month, Google introduced Google Analytics Real-Time, “A set of new reports that show what’s happening on your site as it happens.” Finally, to open up the month of October, Facebook revealed a new ad unit coupled with new Insights measurements for Facebook Pages to help brands see the reach and impact of their efforts on that platform.

The problem of measuring ROI for social media campaigns has long been a cause for hesitation for companies trying to decide how to spend their marketing resources. While social media advocates have made claims about the benefits of social media efforts for brand recognition, website traffic, SEO and PR, it has been hard at times to back up those claims with measurable data. The number of Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers and retweets a brand gains are of rather limited usefulness in determining the success of campaigns. Those numbers may not represent any real engagement with the brand, and certainly don’t give any indication of conversion.

These new tools should make it much easier for companies to justify putting dollars into social media marketing. The metrics can also help brands to hone their skills in this newer marketing arena based on the data they see. With the new Twitter and Google analytics, brands will be able to see how much traffic is sent from Twitter and other networks to their websites as it happens. Meanwhile, the Facebook numbers should give a better idea of how deeply fans are engaged with posted content.

What other types of social media analytics tools do you think would be helpful for your business? Let us know in the comments.