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Social ROI: Digital Marketers Need to Stop Measuring the Wrong Things

For many of the digital marketers we talk to, social measurement is a permanent headache. Am I looking at the right KPIs? Is there an easy way to determine ROI? Does social even drive revenue? These are the questions we hear almost daily, and for good reason: it’s a mess.  

The complexities of identifying, tracking and evaluating KPIs and metrics leaves people feeling insecure about the right way to measure the impact of their marketing efforts. 

Trouble proving social ROI? Read our report on the 7 levels of measurement digital marketers must focus on to prove business impact.

Proving social ROI is a must if you want to make the right decisions for your business, but many companies that come to us find this to be one of the hardest things to implement.

Here are the three tips we give them:

1. Measure to Increase Profits

The first step to successfully evaluating your social efforts: concentrate on what really matters. 

All businesses want to increase profits. In order to show how successful your actions are, it is vital to understand that your social media activities have to trace back to this goal.

This is one of the most useful bits of advice we give digital marketers. Only if you can connect your social efforts to broader business goals, will you know which value it holds. Social attribution, or assigning credit to your social activities, will not just enable you to be accountable to the C-suite, it will also help you uncover opportunities to optimize your initiatives.

We know this isn’t easy. We’re not saying your existing reporting is wrong, but take a good hard look and identify areas where you can make more meaningful connections with existing business data. Dig deeper into brand health by connecting PR spend and media coverage to measure awareness. Check what impact your social activity has on your lead gen. See how your Facebook spend affects sales figures.

You must measure with the intent to increase profits if you want to make the right strategic decisions.

2. Leave the Shares & Likes Where They Belong

Engagement doesn’t tell you anything about marketing performance, just as comparing the numbers of your followers with those of your competitors is pointless. 

Likes, shares and followers are valid indicators to assess how your content is performing, and nothing more. If you’re a content creator, by all means use those figures to get insights to get to know your audience better. Check which pieces perform well (and why), then optimize your content marketing strategy accordingly. 

But to really show the value of your activities at a marketing or business level, you need to make use of more meaningful performance measures like ROI or Return on Marketing Invest (ROMI). These metrics will help quantify where you stand in terms of objectives and outcome. 

Beyond optimizing your content strategy, don’t waste your time with vanity metrics.

3. Don’t Be Scared

The bright side: you’re not alone, and it isn’t too late.

CMO survey results

Image credit: The CMO Survey Highlights & Insights, February 2017

According to the CMO Survey of Feb 2017, only 37% of marketers say they have been able to prove the impact of social media spend quantitatively. While this is up significantly compared to two years ago, it still means more than 60% of marketers are not looking at the relevant quantitative metrics to show impact

We’re in the business of providing companies with data to drive their decision making, and educating prospects about the powerful ways they can use this data is one of our biggest challenges. Understanding your business at the deepest level is incredibly hard and complex, but we can guarantee you, it’ll pay off. 

This is the time for digital marketers to start paying attention to quantitative impact. Lose the fear and start looking into ways to future-proof your company. Prove the value of what you’re doing. 

What do you think? Are you experiencing the same difficulties? Share your comments below. 

If you’re interested to learn more, read our report The Key to Social ROI is a Killer Measurement Strategy and discover the 7 levels of measurement every digital marketer should focus on. 

Social ROI Digital Marketing


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