Simple ways to measure social media ROI

June 1, 2020

Social media marketing expert Danny Brown wrote this valuable blog post about simple and immediate ways you can measure ROI on social media activities. Not everyone in PR is a whiz or even knowledgeable about ROI measures, so this information is helpful.

It must be noted that these are mostly output measures, not results measures, so more work would be needed to determine what to do with the data and what the end results should be, eg sales of products or services, attendance at events, and other behavior change.

There’s a popular misconception that it’s difficult to use targeted metrics to measure social media’s return on investment (ROI). That’s not true. Nor is social media only good for measuring brand awareness. The fact is social media can offer good metrics for measuring ROI. All you need to do is set your success guides—what you want to achieve and how long it will take—and measure your results against them.
Here are six simple metrics for the main social networks that you can use to measure your social media ROI across earned, owned and paid media:

1. Blogger outreach

A key component of many (if not most) social media campaigns, blogger outreach programs can offer some of the best results of any marketing tactic. Measuring your success isn’t too difficult, either. All you have to do is determine the answers to the following questions:

  • How many bloggers wrote about you?
  • How many comments did these posts receive?
  • How many social shares did the post get?
  • What was your traffic pre- and post-outreach?
  • How much product did you have to provide to bloggers, and how many sales did you receive?

2. Twitter

Twitter not only offers instant eyeballs, but great returns. Again, measuring your impact is relatively simple:

  • What was your retweet value (cost of manpower and resources versus followers who take action)?
  • How often did people use your hashtag?
  • How many times did people click your vanity URL?
  • How many new (genuine) followers did you get during your promotion?
  • If you used something like sponsored tweets, what was the cost versus the click-throughs and conversions?

3. Facebook

Although it has its critics (including me), Facebook offers some great built-in tools and demographic options to help gauge a campaign’s success:

  • How many new, worthwhile fans did you make, and how many did you target?
  • How many times did people like or act on your promotion message?
  • If you built a Facebook application, how many times did people install or share it?
  • Did you successfully reach your target demographic? (Facebook Insights can help.)
  • How much did you spend on a Facebook ad, and how did click-throughs and new sales/customers compare?

4. YouTube and other video sites

More than just a fun place to see kids hurt themselves on bikes, YouTube is a key tool in any marketing campaign—just ask the companies that used it during this year’s Super Bowl.
Here are the questions you should ask:

  • How many views did you get?
  • How many likes and favorites did you receive?
  • How many downloads did you get (on video sites that allow downloads)?
  • How many embeds has your video seen elsewhere on the Web?
  • How many subscribers did your channel attract?
  • If your video had a call to action with a vanity URL, how many times did people click through?
  • How many social shares did you get on the social networks your target demographics use?

5. Mobile

As marketing evolves, the different ways to reach an audience combine to create new outlets. Mobile marketing is the perfect complement to social marketing, and is easy to measure:

  • Did you use a push SMS system to drive traffic to a mobile-friendly site? If so, how many views did it bring?
  • Did you use QR codes? If so, how many times did people use them?
  • How many downloads did your mobile app receive?
  • What was the most popular operating system? (This can tell you a lot about your audience’s demographic and buying options.)

These questions offer just some of the immediate ways you can measure your social media success. There are more ways to measure your success, including monitoring tools and more defined analytics. Which ones you use will depend on the goals you’ve set and how you define success.

No matter how you collect the information you need, it all comes down to comparing the time expended and financial outlay to your return.

It’s important to remember that marketing can come down to luck and circumstance as much as brilliant strategy – timing and a welcoming audience are key. The one thing you can control, however, is measurement, and with social media and mobile marketing, measurement has never been easier.

Kim Harrison

Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. As he has progressed through his wide-ranging career, his roles have included corporate affairs management; PR consulting; authoring many articles, books and ebooks; running a university PR course; and business management. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.

Content Authenticity Statement. AI is not knowingly used in the writing or editing of any content, including images, in these newsletters, articles or ebooks. If AI-produced content is contained in any published form in future, this will be reported to readers.

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