Social Media ROI

Social media ROI is possible but it takes a little more than campaign tracking code and a intern with too much time on their hands...

social eye logoToday Overdrive published their new social media tracking social media white paper for the quarter which focuses around the calculation of social media marketing ROI, it was also focused around their SocialEye dashboard with a in-depth look into what makes consumers tick and how you might be able to influence elements by correctly analyzing social media from a purely metrics driven campaign.  Oh and it’s free to download and explore for some great insight into better data visualization and discovery of your brands social media connections.  You need to understand that Social media ROI is possible but it takes a better understanding of the consumer and the rules re-written on traditional campaign metrics because based on those a majority of social media campaigns would be failures. The two important elements I found in the social media white paper focused on traditional online metrics & social media metrics and how I see them continuing to shift and change each week. The relevance of the white paper was increased when MediaPost published its research brief which showed tracking or measuring success or ROI was the largest obstacle to use social media marketing to reach customers.
Tracking Traditional Online Metrics
  1. Traffic: visitors, pageviews, click-thru-rate
  2. Actions: business locational searches, coupon downloads and branded interactions
  3. Conversions: customer data capture, lead capture, phone calls and downloads
  4. ROI: cost per click, cost per lead, cost per acquisition and sales & revenue
Social Media Metrics
  1. Connections: followers, Facebook fans, subscribers, friends and community members
  2. Views: video plays, social profile impressions, images
  3. Engagement: reTweets, reBlogging, social bookmarketing (Digg,Reddit,Stumbleupon,Tumblr)
  4. Buzz: #hashtags, blog trackbacks urls, forums, discussion threads (Echo/Disqus)
  5. Reach: reach and influence of bloggers chatting about your brand/service
  6. Context & Sentiment: negative or positive option ratings of the buzz
  7. Media Equivalent Value: what you might have had to spend to get the same action through conventional media
The holy grail is always been to be able to link offline and online channels and some industry verticals just seem to be trying to fight this shift across, my guess its to protect their inefficient but highly profitable business models.  The profit margins are shrinking but as part of that the importance on tracking ROI on digital campaigns continues to grow and performance based advertising continues to grow.  Phone number tracking is a growing area for businesses and can work well for tracking social media ROI but it needs to be siloed to be truly effective as there isn’t yet a proven technique that will allow quick and easy integration within digital media channels.
Can you track outdoor advertising ROI?
Offline advertising billboards, wallscapes and transit posters is starting to move online thanks to startup platforms like  adstruc marketplace which allows for digital management of outdoor advertising but how can a company leverage that for improved ROI?
Negative attitudes – If you are tracking social trends in attitude towards a particular brand/service you can notice shifts in negative sentiment and could potentially use a platform like adstruct to purchase outdoor advertising space to start to promote a more neutral or positive sentiment.  Have issues with complaints building on Twitter trends about a particular poster, check it against your current inventory and request to have it replaced with a less risky ad. Using social media monitoring to reduce lawsuits and negative press can also be an element in social media ROI.
Falling sales – If you are tracking the value of offline/online sales to your business you also need to be tracking what you need to do to lift your revenue/sales by increasing these channels.  Have a slow month in online retails sales in the Washington DC area, why not buy some outdoor advertising space that links to a local Washington DC campaign URL so you can track the campaign ROI. Targeted local promotion via social media can help improve awareness of the campaign specific to Washington DC will lift revenue/sales for the campaign.
The impact of being able to adjust outdoor advertising inventory to impact online sales can be very effective but until more advertisers are using platforms like adstruc marketplace its not going to be quick enough or efficient to use for digital campaigns.  The only other option is to be a call to your Out-of-Home accounts manager who will take some notes and will need to call you back later in the week once he checks out whats available in his excel spreadsheet. Business cannot continue to run without a focus on improving existing business models and measuring the true ROI of their campaigns.
Monitoring social media is a good start
Buzz vs Ratings? Social media monitoring platform ViralHeat seeks to provide a measurement platform that takes real-time social insights and creates public trends. If you are going to measure your social media ROI you first need a platform which can measure engagement, help with discovery of new audiences, understand sentiment analysis to identify the mood and influencer analytics to identify those who are shaping the conversation.  Social media ROI is difficult because of the multiple platforms used:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • Blogs
  • Websites
  • Viral Videos
Looking at social trends can be useful to understand a market but it doesn’t help detail which tweet or conversation lead to the most website visitors or sales for the month, it takes much more to link that data into a single
dashboard. It also doesn’t allow for measurement of social value from a single Tweet that was retweeted a hundred times or the economic value to your client/business and that is where the money is.
Statsmix LogoDashboard products are great but my experience is that the effort required to import all the feeds, authorise all the APIs and configure the dashboard and you are left with more data that doesn’t appear to matchup as well as it could.  One of the newer startups to emerge trying to solve custom dashboards is Statsmix which seeks to link up all your third-party data on one single view so you can begin to understand what drives your business.  I’m yet to test the platform but it does seem to provide a majority of the common services businesses would use and some more that you don’t:
  • Alexa
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Clicky
  • Compete
  • Eventbrite
  • Facebook
  • FeedBurner
  • Flickr
  • FreshBooks
  • FriendFeed
  • Get Satisfaction
  • Google Analytics
  • MailChimp
  • MySpace
  • Quantcast
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Viddler
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
Central view doesn’t solve everything
The aspect of having one central view for all your data is great but it still doesn’t allow for a true analysis of its value and how you can refocus your existing strategies for improved ROI.  It the platform could also power the posting/sharing of data and engagement with users via the one dashboard it would be a killer application but while it’s still only a dashboard the product doesn’t solve all the problems that marketers have when running social media campaigns.
The ongoing issue is that importing and sorting the data is fine but what the actual social media ROI from my campaigns?
I can tag links with tracking code, using analytics friendly packages like, measure your social capital with PeerIndex, record goals with Google Analytics and track leads/revenue in SalesForce but that is almost too much work. The effort required to drill back into the sales funnel to find out what Tweet started the snow ball and which fan saw that it was worthwhile to join your Fanpage and what drove them to “like” your page is often enough to cause a social media analyst a breakdown.  The preview of SocialEye showed how it is possible when looking to identify the true value of your social media marketing campaigns you have to consider a full integration of your marketing & sales platforms to a single dashboard.  The preview of SocialEye shows that social media while complex can be possible but requires a top down view that can look across multiple platforms simultaneously as silos will break the mould and your transparency.

12 Replies to “Social Media ROI”

  • Hi, thanks for posting this white paper! There are a lot of great tools for measuring and monitoring social media efforts to track ROI. I thought you’d be interested in hearing about Tweettronics, a tool for campaign management on Twitter.

    We listen to conversations to discover their general sentiment, who is participating and why, and different ways of characterizing a speaker’s public persona and influence. our tools monitor and measure reach, volume, influence, and impact.

    Try us out with a free trial! (Promo Code: TwitterMetrics)

    • Thanks for the comment Jen, i’m sure anyone reading this would possibly interested in a free trial, there are so many tools out there sometimes its a bit of a overload.


  • Don’t forget the qualitative part of social media monitoring as well. You have some good lists of metrics to watch for, but there is also the analysis that comes after that is just as if not more important than the quantitative measures.
    The number of mentions on social media, for example, is good to know ; it’s even better to know why people are (or aren’t) talking about your or your company.

    You might also want to check out a recent concept by François Guillot – RONI. It’s the return on NON-investment in social media. 😉

    Best, Michelle @Synthesio

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for the devils advocate view on monitoring, you are right quality is a key part as good analysis is knowing why people aren’t clicking or sharing your content but maybe business is not ready for that yet when they are still struggling with should they use social media or not 🙂

      Here is the link to a translated post on the ROI of RONI.


    • Andy,

      I would say looking over the white paper its a start, im not that it perfectly simplifies social media ROI but centralising all the traffic/mentions/clicks/leads is a massive step forward in the right direction


  • This is a great post explaining some of the ways of tracking Social Media. We are getting more and more customers wanting Social Media Management and many of the businesses that we come across don’t understand these new Social media metrics and maybe most marketers don’t yet either. The people we talk to say they don’t think Social Media works because it hasn’t produced them a sale yet but if they have an account full of potentially hungry prospects for their products and services they don’t necessarily see the value, they are just stuck on a sale. LOL. Anyway great article I’m definitely bookmarking this.

Comments are closed.