Last Updated: April 2019
The Twitter bird wants to know: How do you calculate social media ROI for your business?
It’s not always easy to measure the financial benefits of social marketing campaigns as hard and fast numbers. But with help from the resources below, you’ll be able to set social marketing goals and report on your program results with greater confidence.
Measuring Social Media Marketing
20+ Social Media Marketing Articles and Related Resources
My goal with this ‘article roundup’ post is to collect and summarize a good list of articles on the topic of social media measurement, all in one handy resource.
What follows is some of the best material I found online. I hope it helps you build and measure effective social marketing campaigns.
A quick look at recent history:
Here’s a snapshot from Google Trends that shows the search interest on the general topic of social media ROI since early 2015:
It’s an indication that many people are still trying to figure this stuff out and are hungry for more insights.
A few articles either include or point to brief social marketing case studies with quantified benefits.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!
Social Marketing Measurement - Some Common Themes
Social Media ROI Definition
The basic ROI equation is: ROI = [(Benefit – Cost) / Cost] * 100%. (This is true for any financial ROI measure, not just social marketing metrics).
Hard and Soft ROI
Using the S.M.A.R.T. Approach
Using Social Media Measurement Tools and Platforms
Common Prescription for Social Media Measurement
General Social ROI Discussion
1. We’ll start the list with this painfully funny and on-point cartoon about social marketing measurement, from Marketing Week and Marketoonist. That point above about real financial measures vs. the soft stuff? It’s well captured in this cartoon. You just can’t pay the bills with non-financial vanity metrics such as Facebook likes and Twitter retweets.
2. Gary Vaynerchuk offers a funny piece on social media benefits in this short piece. You won’t get analytical tips or quantitative steps here, just interesting and humorous parallels about skill, time, execution, commitment, and other parts of the ‘investment’ variable. This article is a couple of years old now but is still worth a quick read.
3. This brief article by Tereza Litsa introduces the challenges of measurement in social media. She discusses different approaches for brand awareness, increasing engagement, and lead generation. Not heavy on effectiveness examples or financial math, but more of a general overview and discussion piece. It does include a link at the end to several free tools for evaluating social activities.
4. From Gretchen Fox of MTO Agency, this brief and very pro-social-marketing article is about busting social media measurement myths. Includes links to several supporting articles, data points, and related resources. It’s not an ROI-specific tutorial, but rather a plea for businesses to wake up and get on board the social train. Includes a 5-point explanation for why companies avoid leveraging social media marketing.
5. Robert Allen provides this interesting discussion about the perceptions of social media marketing effectiveness in B2B and B2C markets. He covers a range of social marketing goals, from brand awareness and customer engagement to lead generation and customer acquisition. Includes several charts and graphs that show survey results covering all the major social platforms, including perceptions of financial measures.
6. From David Moth of Econsultancy, this article includes discussion of social media case studies. However, it starts with the observation that analyzing social results is still tough, especially for B2B marketers.
It references an earlier article that suggests many marketers should stop investing in (organic) social media marketing, diverting those resources instead to channels that are more highly measurable with a direct cause-effect relationship (including *paid* social).
David also includes pointers to helpful guides from HootSuite and Buffer, as well as summaries and links to a few case studies depicting social media effectiveness, including BT, KLM, Made.com, Incontact, and IBM.
Social Media Measurement Process
The article points out some of the measurement challenges that can crop up within Google Analytics and Facebook metrics, plus the challenges of proper attribution back to social activity.
It’s a pretty quick and worthwhile read, especially as a reminder to set realistic and measurable goals. The article references GA and various social marketing dashboard tools.
ROI (%) = [(Benefits – Costs)/Costs] * 100%.
(Update from Nov 2019: Link to this article removed… Tracx is now part of Talkwalker.)
Patrick’s focus is on setting specific goals, tracking the right metrics, and doing as much source attribution as possible for various goal conversions.
He discusses obstacles to quantifying social, crucial marketing metrics to monitor, various attribution models, and holding social media marketing managers accountable for real results.
- Set conversion goals
- Track conversions
- Assign monetary value to conversions
- Measure total benefits by channel
- Determine total costs
- Analyze results and improve
- Choose goals
- Determine needed metrics
- Track metrics
- Assign monetary values
- Update reporting – make projections and improvements
- Customer Lifetime Value Calculator
- RJ Metrics’ Cloud BI
- Google Analytics
- Setting goals for social marketing activities
- Determining the right social platforms
- Tracking campaigns
- Reporting findings
- Reviewing results and adjusting goals (as needed)
- Choose your social goals and metrics to track
- Track those things using tools like Google Analytics and social media management tools
- Assign monetary value (includes interesting info on comparative ‘cost per action’ metrics)
- Calculate your total social media investment (including paid in-house staff time)
- Calculate social program return on investment based on quantified benefits vs. total costs
- Linking business strategy and social marketing
- Challenges of calculating social marketing investment returns
- Determining costs of social programs
- Defining and calculating social ROI
- Financial and non-financial benefits of social media
So that’s it… almost two dozen good articles and online courses that can help us all become better social media marketers, with a variety of calculation approaches to back up and help improve our efforts.
I welcome your feedback and comments below. Which of the above articles were most helpful for you? Any important concepts missing?
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing with your social networks below, too.