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What You Should Look For When Measuring Social Media ROI

Submitted by on August 8, 2014 – 9:00 pm

What Should You Look For When Measuring Social Media ROI?

social_facebook How do you tell that the 40+ hours a week you spend on Facebook is having an impact on your business?

 How do you measure the value of social engagement signals such as Likes, Comments, Shares, Re-pins and Re-tweets?

A recent study by Gigaom found that 52% of marketers have a hard time measuring social ROI. The difficulty in accessing data and a lack of standard cross-channel metrics compound the complexity in gauging the impact of social media efforts.

One way to overcome this difficulty is to look beyond the strict definition of ROI—the dollar equivalent of your social media efforts. What you can look at instead, is specific metrics that contribute to the overall success of your business.

Growth of your audience size

When marketers began using and tracking social media, they primarily looked at the number of followers or fans they had managed to attract. Your audience size is a simple yet insightful metric that can indicate increased brand awareness and reach.

Obviously, you should be measuring your audience growth against a specific goal. For example, if your goal is to have 500 Facebook fans, then a consistent growth rate is a metric that you should be looking at.

Do not be too hung up on the size of your audience though; what are ultimately important are the actions your fans and followers are taking.

As such, it is necessary to measure the level of engagement to determine whether a specific campaign is successful. Inbuilt social analytic tools such as Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights can help you keep track of engagement metrics such as Likes, Comments, Shares, and Re-tweets.

Tracking engagement alongside audience growth allows you to gain a better understanding of the type of content that best resonates with your fans and followers.

Direct conversions

Google Analytics does a good job of tracking direct sales or referrals from social sites.

For example, by setting the Analytics tool to track eCommerce, you would be able to see the number of people visiting your store directly from Facebook. You would also be able to track the exact dollar amount these referrals are spending on your online storefront.

Another important conversion metric to measure is the number of people you are nurturing into your email list. This means tracking newsletter signups, or the number of people who opt-in to access a giveaway or a freebie.

Click-through rates

Click-through rates can help you determine how successful your ads are. All the major social platforms will give you access to a click-through rates report.

Along with the click-through rates, another important metric to measure is the impressions, or the number of people who see your ad.

Cross-channel tracking of click-through rates and impressions will allow you to measure how well your ads are performing on different social networks. In turn, you will have a better idea of how to allocate your ad spend across the different networks.

social media connections around the worldWebsite Traffic

While Google Analytics can tell you where your traffic is coming from, it does not show you a dollar amount for the traffic that is coming to your site from social media.

A good way to measure the value of social traffic to your site is to compare this free traffic against the amount you are spending on Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. This comparison will give you a tangible dollar amount of how much your social traffic is worth.


Social listening is an important trend right now. What people are saying about your brand, product or services will ultimately determine the success of your campaigns and brand reputation. It will also affect qualitative business goals such as sales and revenues.  

Another reason why you need to track social conversations around your brand is that it gives you a good idea of whom your fans see as your main competition and also what they like and do not like about your product.

Use tools such as Topsy, Google Alerts, or Hootsuite to monitor essential conversations about you and then use this to improve the main aspects of your business such as branding, content marketing, and lead nurturing where necessary.


263706-20140615It is not always possible to categorize the returns you receive from social media in terms of direct, cash profits. In fact, most of the benefits accrued from social media are qualitative such as brand awareness, engagement, traffic; all these work together to add value to your bottom line.

When measuring social ROI, a better approach would be to take a holistic view that allows you to see both the qualitative and quantitative returns of your social efforts.

I hope this article has been useful and that you will forward my post to others who may have a similar interest!


Mike Conkey, Entrepreneur

Business Systems Analyst



Internet & Network Marketer

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