More CMOs are beginning to understand the true of value of social media marketing, placing focus on web metrics rather than simply dollars earned.

A joint study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association pointed to hits, page views and repeat traffic as the social media metrics CMOs value most.

According to the study, more than 52 percent of CMOs respond most actively to hits, page views and visits, while repeat visits are a key criteria for nearly 35 percent of respondents.

Some CMOs are more bottom-line driven, with 4.8 percent reporting profits-per-customer is the most important metric for social media success. However, this figure is down from 9.4 percent last year. The change likely represents a shift in the use of social media marketing its ultimate success.

Driving web traffic through social media or content marketing is the best way to see eventual conversions. However, measuring success solely on the profits created could prevent a strong campaign from generating other positive results for branding.

Brafton reported last week that CMOs plan to increase social media’s share of their marketing budgets substantially in the next 12 months. In the last six months, social media has grown from 5.9 percent of marketing spend to more than 7 percent.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.