Luke Brynley-Jones is the founder of Our Social Times and is hosting #Measure13, a two-day conference and workshop in London on the 26th and 27th March.

Once upon a time, Marketers could rely on certain Truths.

You could spend your days turning suspects - people who ought to want your products - into prospects – people who had expressed an interest in your products - to become customers, the suckers who actually got their wallets out.

Your marketing strategy could focus almost exclusively on the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. Pick a decent product, cut the price, add a yellow flash to the packaging and move it up two shelves, then sit back, put your feet up and wait for Madmen to be invented.

When you bothered, you probably used AIDA to track your sales attribution. How did you grab the prospect’s Attention? What drove their Intention to buy? How did you convert that intention into a Desire? And what led to the final Action of buying? By following this well-trodden path, you could figure out what worked best and how to get more customers. Tasty!

Yet, as Google pointed out in its Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) handbook in 2011, consumers now check (on average) 10.4 information sources before they buy. They see a book they like in a magazine, read reviews on Amazon, visit its fan Page on Facebook, ask friends about it on Twitter, then buy it on their Kindle.

Where does that leave your AIDA?
The most popular attribution model for online sales remains ‘last click’, which identifies the last place the customer visited prior to purchase as the source of the sale.  This is fine, except that 90% of the time, the very last thing a consumer does is Google for the product they’ve decided to buy. Tracking your customers from Google might be easy, but it isn’t really good enough.

So we have a situation where prospects go through a veritable washing machine of reviews, advice, information, tips, sales information, hearsay, adverts and slander - on their way to buying (or not) your products, creating an impossible sales path to attribute, even for measurement geeks.

Certain clever folk have suggested that the solution might be to change the question. Instead of asking “How many sales did we make through social media?” Try asking, “To what extent did social media contribute to the sales we made through channels we can track?” This Contribution Model can be tested using a revised version of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) called the Social Promoter Score.

Rather than asking people who’ve been exposed to your products via social media channels whether they would recommend you (as NPS works), Social Promoter Score asks if they did refer you. By looking at the number of referrals via Twitter, Facebook etc. you can start to rate your social media activities based on measurable outcomes.

Could this be the social media measurement model we’ve been irritably waiting for?

Luke will be exploring the Social Promoter Score, measurement frameworks, influencer analysis and social analytics integration at #Measure13 in London on the 26th and 27th March. We Are Social readers can get a 10% discount using the code WAS10.