While social media continues to take larger chunks out of marketing budgets, most companies donít have any way to tell what kind of impact this spending is having, according to a recent blog post in the Wall Street Journal.

The post cited research from Duke University that showed increasing spending on social media outlets, with about nine percent of marketing budgets geared to social media now, and expectations to grow to 13 percent over the next year and 21 percent in the next five years. At the same time, traditional advertising budgets are projected to shrink almost four percent over the next year.

Are the spending increases justified? Itís hard to tell, according to this study. Only 15 percent of the marketers in the research study stated that they could find quantitative evidence of the impact of social media, while 40 percent say that they can subjectively measure the impact.

If the increased spending is related to the technology and infrastructure needed to better analyze data generated from social media, then maybe marketers will be able to get a better handle on the effectiveness of the channel. After all, at the end of the day, any marketing initiative should be judged on results.