[[updated August 31st, 2018]]
I just learned that “Facebook ROI” only gets searched around 170 times per month, whilst “how to get more likes” gets 880 searches.
Does this surprise you?
So people are focusing on boosting engagement more than making sure that their social media campaign is actually generating money. And isn’t that the whole point of any marketing activity – traditional or digital? To grow a business by acquiring more customers or users?!
In the world of business, engagement is a means to an end, and that end is generating income. The idea is that the more engagement you get, the more likely it is that people will know and trust your brand, and eventually purchase your service/product.
It’s part of the Customer Journey after all. And even though pursuing engagement can be a lot of fun, doing so should never distract you from the overarching objective – making money!
The truth is that even though working out your social media ROI can seem daunting, simply focusing on engagement is really not a viable alternative. So let’s figure out how to measure ROI in three intuitive steps.
Return on Investment is a measure of performance and can be applied to any investment. To work it out, simply divide the return on an investment by its cost – the result is expressed as a percentage or ratio.
This formula, however, is very much a skeleton for you to flesh out. Decide what you count as a return or what you count as a cost. To get the most accurate figure, include everything you possibly can which, unfortunately, means poring over your accounts.
When you measure your social media ROI, calculate the ROI for each channel separately. You’ll then be able to better see which platforms your campaigns are performing well on and which they aren’t.
Adding together your platform-specific ROI figures will give you your total social media ROI, and probably a more accurate one than if you’d calculated it outright since it will take into account the detailed costs and returns associated with each platform’s campaign.
You can only work out your ROI if you have a clear idea of what a successful campaign would look like.
Think about what you want your campaign to achieve. Perhaps it’s generating a particular number of leads in a set period of time. Maybe it’s converting a certain amount of people on your landing page. Or driving traffic to your website’s online store.
Failure to connect tangible business goals to social media campaigns is probably the reason behind Altimeter’s claim that only 34 percent of businesses feel that their social media strategy is connected with their business outcomes.
Some key metrics to monitor include: reach, traffic, leads, customers, and conversion rates.
Keeping a close eye on how your social media campaign affects these should give you a good understanding of whether or not it’s effective – whether or not it’s making you money.
There are quite a few options available to you when it comes to monitoring your social media campaigns. But be prepared– to get the most from these you may have to track pages by adding tracking code to URLs, build tailored landing pages, and recording and integrating the data you receive.
Our recommendations are:
Google Analytics allows you to monitor who your audience is, how they behave on your site, where they come from, whether they convert, and much more besides.
Adding Google Analytics to your own landing pages and websites is a great way to collect data concerning your own sites’ performance.
However, it’s not easy (though it is possible) to use Google Analytics to monitor and find out which of your campaigns is bringing in the most traffic.
For each social network you want to monitor, you’ll need three UTMs:
For example, let’s say you’re monitoring a landing page. In this case, you could define the UTM parameters as:
With your URLs properly tagged, post each of the corresponding URLs to your social network alongside your posts.
Now Google Analytics will only show data for the links you’ve tagged, and you can see exactly how each of your campaigns is performing.
It’s now the tail end of 2018 and three years since I wrote this post! We’ve come a long way and I’m super excited to share another way to add UTM parameters to the posts you share on social media.
You can add UTM tracking to every social media update you share directly from your Agorapulse dashboard.
To turn on UTM tracking, just toggle it on while you’re setting up your next update and add the campaign, medium, source and any custom parameters.
Then you can shorten the link through the Bitly integration and track your post’s ROI.
Agorapulse is the Swiss army knife of social media management.
Our built-in ROI Measurement tool is the easiest way to measure ROI. By allowing you to set your own KPIs, we’re able to give you a good indication of what your Facebook page is really worth.
Since you decide what counts as success, Agorapulse is able to avoid generalized ROI figures and put you back in control.
Of course, Agorapulse offers a whole lot more than the ROI Measurement tool, so check out some of our other great features.
As someone who’s attempted to measure social media ROI, we know that all those figures and graphs can get a little overwhelming.
But the truth is not all of them will apply to you. Use your goals to determine which information is applicable to your report. Set an intelligent timeframe for monitoring and benchmarking progress over time.
It’s best to collate your information into a report. This way you’ll be able to show your manager, colleagues, shareholders, or perhaps even just yourself exactly what affect social media is having on your business. And standardizing reports also means that you will be able to compare your campaigns over time, refer back to other reports, and make reasonable predictions or forecast goals.
Having your social media ROI stats in front of you enables you to meaningfully review your results and modify you campaigns moving forward. It’s all about striving for continuous improvement after all.
Top tip: if your ROI isn’t quite as good as you’d hoped, it may be worth having a look into some of the paid advertising options available. Facebook ads, for example, can be an incredibly effective ROI booster. The trick is to combine your ads with high-quality content; paying ensures reach, quality content ensures engagement.
How do you measure social media ROI? What tips have you found beneficial in reporting on the success of your social media campaigns?