As a Social Media strategist, I’m often asked OUR version of the 6 Million-Dollar Question; how do you measure Return on Investment via Social Media?
If you Google ‘ROI Social Media’, no doubt you will be presented with a plethora of websites suggesting ‘steps’, ‘formulas’ and even ‘dead simple ways’ to track social media ROI.
Truth be told, my belief is that the answer to this 6 Million-Dollar question is not all that complicated.
In fact, the answer can be applied to a multiple of situations and is a question in itself… What is your OBJECTIVE?
Without a clear, identifiable objective, how can a numerical measurement be applied in any form?
For those of you now saying to yourselves; ‘it’s not that simple Dave…’, I agree.
It goes without saying that this question inherently raises more questions.
One common objective is to increase ‘brand awareness’. How do you measure an increase in brand awareness? To increase brand awareness is a fantastic goal, although is not an objective. Objectives are measurable.
To measure brand awareness, you may wish to consider measure metrics such as Referral Traffic via Google Analytics and plot the increase in referral traffic to your website from your social media accounts.
Another metric could be something as simple as using a monitoring tool [such as Radian6] to monitor the number of mentions a brand receives over the course of a 3-month period and identify trends.
Even simpler could be the number of Likes via Facebook or Followers via Twitter – both measurable statistics and provide an indication on brand awareness.
If your objective is an increase in Sales revenue – which is often the case – consider what strategy is in place for your social media accounts. If you are not selling a product from within your Facebook page, how can you accurately measure ROI on social media?
Sure, a prospect may contact a member of your sales team via Facebook or Twitter interested in a product and the sale may well close… enough said. We have an ROI metric. That said, that metric is reliant on the sales person’s ability to close to the opportunity, therefore is a true indication of ROI against your social media investment? No.
Enough of my rhetorical questions now…
The easiest way to track ROI on Social Media [some would argue ANY marketing initiative] is through the tracking and recording of Leads.
Leads are easily measurable. Leads are opportunities that are created and provided to a business and/or sales person to either WIN or LOSE.
There are a multitude of web applications proclaiming to be able to assist with an ROI on Social Media, however for mine, Google Analytics is more then capable of tracking Leads.
While other solutions offer social media insights, Google Analytics integrates social data in context, providing a holistic view of the website as the center of the digital universe for the brand.
Data for metrics such as Network Referrals, Pages, Plugins and Visitor Flow are automatically captured in Analytics Reports connect-the-dots between content and community.
Once a dollar value is assigned to each Goal as a Conversion, Google Analytics enables a dollar-based definition of social impact, revealing which visitors, social platforms, and content drive high-quality customers toward conversion and the bottom line. The impact of social on each defined benchmark is revealed in an easy-to-read report.
As a Goal can be identified by URL Destination, Visit Duration, Page/Visit or Event, and assigned a Value, measuring performance of social initiatives as they relate to the specific business model and goals of the brand is available to any website using Google Analytics.
Let’s put this into an example scenario;
1/ Brand X has a product-orientated website with an enquiry form.
2/ Once a user submits an Enquiry Form on the website, they are redirected to a ‘Thank You’ page.
3/ A Goal is established in Google Analytics to report on the number of times a user reaches Brand X’s website via Facebook and, after landing, arrives at the Thank You page.
We have now established a simple ROI measurement metric; the number of Leads generated via Facebook. It is now up to the sales team to convert that lead!
Working backwards from this new metric, once you have established a numerical target for New Leads, you are able to begin accurately tracking your Objective and, thus, start to track ROI on Social Media.
Remember, without an Objective – what is there to measure?
For further information on using Google Analytics for social media reporting, visit https://www.google.com/analytics/features/social.html