The Complete Guide To Measuring Social Media ROI And Tracking Social Media Metrics
Since the inception of the social world, marketers have been strongly debating on Social Media metrics that matter. If all the metrics are available, then why do thousands of businesses and brands still struggle to generate brand awareness and revenue by calculating the right Social Media ROI?
There’s a huge disconnect here because the Social Media metrics should always be measured after defining the business goals and audience behaviour.
In this blog, we are going to see how you should be tracking your Social Media metrics and Social Media ROI by analyzing your business goals. At the end of this blog, I have illuminated an example of Crazyegg's sales funnel by breaking it down into 4 steps.
Let's dive in...
Mr. Luke Williams, Professor of innovation at NYU's Stern School of Business and a renowned Author states in an article in The Atlantic,
Observations are raw data, the gradual accumulation of information that you have consciously and carefully recorded—exactly the way you saw or heard it, with no interpretation. Insights are the sudden realizations in which you interpret the observations and discover patterns.
In order to have a look at what’s happening behind the scenes, it’s important to understand what are observations and what are insights for your business.
We come across hundreds of Social Media metrics while working online. Some related to Social Behavior and others relate to web analytics. How your audience interacts with the content that you publish gives you an insight into your audience.
Just observing all the stats and complying with their meaning will not give any result. Like looking at web and Social Media metrics that aren’t telling you what to do next.
These are Vanity metrics and they do not associate with the numbers that matter to your business.
For instance, you might see an overall drop in revenue generated by your Social Media Marketing, but your followers are growing. Hence, you are failing to achieve your business goal with your marketing efforts thus facing a loss in Social Media ROI.
Maybe you should consider monitoring different metrics like audience retention and conversion rate.
Numbers from your content on Social Media defines the real-life experience of your audience. Understand what the numbers are saying to your business efforts.
- Consumption metrics
- Sharing metrics
- Lead-Gen metrics
- Sales metrics
1. Consumption metrics
How many of your audience viewed, downloaded, or listened to a piece of content?
- Pageviews: Insights from Google Analytics or a similar web analytics.
- Video Views: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter provides views for the native videos. You can also check YouTube Insights.
- Document views: Slideshare, Scribd, Prezzi and alike provides this data.
- Downloads: Measuring downloads via CRM platforms or Web analytics platforms like Google Analytics.
- Social Chatter: In order to measure chatter on Social Media use tools like Mention, Sysomos and Viralheat.
In order to track the social impact of the consumed content, you need to track sharing metrics.
2. Sharing metrics
How engaging is the content? How much is it getting shared among your audience?
- Likes, shares, tweets, +1s and pins: These Social Media metrics are provided by native Social networks, Google Analytics and similar web analytics platforms provides additional insights.
- Forwards: Email providers and Google Analytics offer these numbers.
- Inbound Links: Tools like OpenSiteExplorer, RavenTools and Yoast SEO help you measure these metrics.
With these metrics, you can analyse the amount of attention you have gained with your content on Social Media.
Creating easy sharing buttons on your blog or easy to embed infographics can improve the above metrics.
It’s time to look how many people have converted into leads via your content.
3. Lead-gen metrics
How exactly the content consumed generates a lead?
Your content will not generate direct lead always but it can contribute to lead generation, so in order to track the indirect leads, you need to set goals on web analytics tools like Google Analytics.
- Email subscriptions: Email providers and Google Analytics offer these numbers.
- Blog subscriptions: You can use inbound marketing tools like Hubspot to track this metric.
- Blog comments: A strong comment platform like Disqus, Facebook comment plugin help here.
- Conversion rate: Track how many content consumers turned into leads.
4. Sales metrics
How much money did you make with this content?
- Online sales: Measure it through e-commerce system.
- Offline sales: Track these metrics through CRM and URL tracking on web analytics tools.
If you’re going to track leads and sales, you have to set trackable CTAs on your Social Media posts for each and every content you create.
Now from the above four types of metrics, you shouldn’t start with any random metrics. Hence, you should focus on metrics that matter to your business goals.
Now you have the option to define the metrics you need by applying the SMART concept-
Try to be specific with the metrics you track. What, Why, When and Where are you tracking that metric?
If you share a lot of timely posts on Social Media in order to emphasize the number of white paper downloads or email signups, then you should stop looking at Bounce rate and track the volume of unique visits.
If we do X, then will it change the result Y? If yes, how to change X to achieve the result Y over Z period of time?
If you are specific, you will know what to track and how to track.
If you’re unable to measure your metric, it won’t give you any insight. You need numbers that can be measured to track your Social Media marketing efforts.
If you get 120 link clicks for your blog, from a Tweet for one week, then see how many of them stayed on the blog and completed the goal you have set for that link.
Measure the insight and look for necessary changes you have to do, either on your Tweet content or on your blog.
Setting numbers that are within your reach can be a rational take from your side.
Your metrics must be realistic and should match your capability. You shouldn’t set your goals that wouldn’t convert into action.
Let’s say you publish your first ever blog and then you expect 10,000 unique visitors on the first day for your blog.
Do you think it’s achievable?
Always keep your metrics relevant to your business and audience goals. Metrics is all about tracking and measuring user’s behaviour that lead to business improvement.
Relevancy is the key.
Metrics tracked without a time boundary can be irrelevant. Let’s consider you have experimented a new marketing tactic that you have never tried. Then your assumption would be time bound. How?
“If you use Instagram Live video 4 times a month for the period of 6 months then do you see an increase in number of followers by X% every month?”, this states the framework of your Social Media marketing effort which is time-bound, by measuring it in a timely basis can help you find whether you need to adopt the same style for the next 6 months or not.
Keeping this in mind, the necessary step is to run time-bound experiments inside a regular marketing framework then analyze the metrics that associated to the goal of that experiment.
As Sean Ellis has said, “If you’re not running experiments, you’re probably not growing.”
Now, that being said, how can you determine what kind of Social Media metrics you need to measure in order to track Social Media ROI?
According to the report on Social Media ROI by Altimeter, The major challenge was to tie Social Media ROI to the business goals which was faced by 56% of the companies and marketers.
What is Social Media ROI? Understand from your Social Media Metrics
Surprisingly, there’s no definitive answer to the question “What is Social Media ROI?” as it is completely connected to the business goals. The definition can be altered by any individual or business according to their investment and return to their business.
In general core, it states, what are you getting back from the time, energy and money you are putting in social media marketing?
In case of money, How many dollars you invest and how many you got in return?
You need to measure your Social Media ROI because:
- You’ll see where you can improve your efforts
- You’ll be able to decide which Social Media channels are bringing in the most revenue for you
- You’ll see how specific changes impact your Social Media goals
How to track Social Media ROI in 3 steps?
- Set up your Social Media Goals
- Track and measure your goals
- Calculate your Social Media ROI
1. Set up your Social Media Goals
Like I have been mentioning since the beginning of this article, setting goals comes first, tracking Social Media metrics comes next and measuring Social Media ROI comes last.
Are you looking to increase revenue or build awareness of your brand?
By understanding the right KPIs for your brand, it’s easy to understand the impact of your Social Media marketing efforts. For your campaign to be meaningful and clear, the big picture should be broken down into small sized goals which again should match your KPIs. For businesses looking to generate revenue via Social Media should measure Lead-gen and Sales metrics (I have discussed above) like product purchases, customer sign-ups or free trials.
At the same time, for businesses looking for brand awareness should measure consumption and sharing Social Media metrics like brand mentions, followers, reach and engagement on Social Media.
2. Track and measure your goals
Ultimately, the metrics you would track should be actionable. And that action should help users to move along the sales funnel and towards becoming a customer.
Think about a Social Media funnel where every section is linked to a metric, if any section of the funnel goes wrong then the corresponding metric can be analyzed and improved to keep the flow consistent.
There are thousands of tools out there on internet that can help you track and analyze your metrics efficiently.
Tools like Statusbrew Reporting, True Social Media metrics and Google Analytics can provide you with the clear insights of your Social Media activities you need to track.
If you have a website then your ability to retain and convert your audience depends on how informed you are about their behavior on your site.
One of the best ways to track your goals is to use Google Analytics (the most commonly used web analytics tool). Every single goal of yours can be measured if you adopt the right approach.
Google Analytics is a free tool that can be used to set up trackable goals and monitor how often a visitor complete the actions you define.
For creating and configuring goals on Google Analytics, you can read this tutorial.
Once you assign your goal, you need to add values to your KPIs by defining monetary value of these goals.
You can choose several ways to do that:
- Lifetime value: How much do you earn from each and every customer on average?
- Lifetime value multiplied by conversion rate: How much is each potential visit worth to you based on the percentage that converts?
- Average sale: How much is the average purchase through your site?
- PPC valuation: How much would you end up paying if you were to use ads to achieve the same Social Media results?
3. Calculate your Social Media ROI
In order to track your expenses you need to have an eye on what you’re spending exactly.
- Time - You invest a lot of time to research, create and share content on Social Media, keeping Social Media channels up-to-date and engage with your audience on Social Media.
- Design - When you create design like image, infographic or video for your content to look appealing in order attract audience, it comes into the investment part as well.
- Tools - You can invest in Social Media tools like Statusbrew, Hootsuite and Buffer to automate your Social Media scheduling, listening and reporting. It can save a lot of your time. Remember to calculate the ROI for the period of time you run the campaign. For example, if your campaign lasts for 2 months then don’t consider the tool expenses for the year.
- Money - You may also spend money in Social Media advertising like boosting posts on Facebook, promoting Tweets or sponsoring posts on LinkedIn.
All the above resources you are investing in your Social Media marketing should be considered while calculating your Return On Investment (ROI) in order to check the positive or negative ROI.
Once you are good with expenses, you can calculate the Social Media ROI for each and every campaign by this formula:
ROI = (Earnings – Costs) x 100 / Costs
Earnings is the value you define while you set your goals and costs would be your expenses mentioned above (time, design, tools and money).
By sorting out the Social Media ROI for each social channel you will have a clear idea on what social network works best for your business. It gives you the numbers you need to focus on right social channel.
When it comes to ROI, the Social Media metrics has all the power to tell you what does your Social Media marketing effort is offering you back. Understanding your business goals and taking a planned approach towards the Social Media can give you the ability to track the required Social Media metrics, preventing you from getting lost in the vanity metrics.
Let me show you an example of a sales conversion funnel from Crazy Egg, a website tracking tool.
Before we dive into the example, we should review what sales funnel actually means.
A sales funnel is “a series of steps designed to guide visitors toward a buying decision. The steps are composed of marketing assets that do the work of selling, like landing pages and email.”, Says Matt Ackerson of Autogrow.co
Crazy Egg has an amazing blog with super quality content, so their sales funnel starts right at their blog. If you see clearly, most of the traffic for them come from inbound sources like Google.
They have an efficient CTA (Call To Action) on their blog, which will drive visitors into converted customers.
There is a direct CTA box on the right side of the blog which stays with you as you scroll down the blog up to seventy percent.
Now comes steps…
The traffic is generated from the following sources-
- Organic (Search engine)
- Social (Social Media metrics from social sharing)
- Consumption metrics
- Sharing metrics
- Referrals (Visits from outside the search engine)
- Ads (Online Advertisements)
Crazy Egg has a pop-up at the bottom of the blog stating a 30-day free trial, you will be asked to provide a email to join the subscription list.
Related: Also read, How to Bring in More Visitors to Your Blog through Instagram.
2. You are redirected to the Homepage (Login and signup to move ahead) [Lead Gen Metrics]
Once you enter your email and get started, it takes you to the login and sign up page.
3. Then comes Pricing page
The pricing page has elegant brand color, easy words and no jargon. It makes it more appealing for the visitors to understand what it has to provide.
4. Checkout Form [Sales Metrics]
This is the final step after you choose your plan. On the checkout form, it’s clearly mentioned that the user will not be charged during the 30 day free trial period. A matter of language used to build trust.
Neil Patel focused on the simplicity of the funnel throughout, by defining proper KPIs and goals.
Social Media is all about letting your audience know that you're here to help. It's always good to understand their behavior and needs via web analytics and Social Media metrics. It always helps.
Eager to know you!
Putting your business online is not a wonder but understanding why it's there is big.
What are the two key web and Social Media metrics you track to fulfill your business goals? Drop your comment below and I will be right here to catch up with you.