Many marketers still think they can't track social media marketing ROI (define). They say it's so new and hard to define that the old metrics and tracking technologies just can't be applied. This widespread perception is reflected by comments in major publications (I have taken out their real names, but I assure you the quotes are real and recent):"The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable...What you're trying to do is assign multiple choice scoring to an essay question. It's not possible." -Principal, social media marketing agency
However, as a person coming from the online media world, I never accepted that. When it comes to online, everything can and should be tracked.
You can track social media ROI just like online media and search, and even layer on a few extras!
The difference is that, unlike paid search, online media, and other online marketing tactics, the social channel can take more time to mature and the results can take longer to be realized.
For many of the metrics, there is no need to reinvent the wheel - one can look at the same performance indicators in use for online today such as clicks, cost per click, leads, cost per lead, and even revenue.
Social Media Metrics
Reliable, meaningful metrics that fall into three broad categories.
Now, the integration of all this data on a dashboard may pose a challenge for organizations and agencies. The reality is, it's pretty easy once the technology is in place and a workflow is established. Our agency has created such a dashboard; it's also possible to get a large portion of the items listed above using technologies you most likely already have in place such as Google Analytics, Omniture, Net Insight, Radian6, and the stats you get from your Facebook page, Twitter account, and other social properties. They key is understanding how to filter it and piece it together, but the trick is to stick to your guns and track the things that have always been important to you as an online marketer!
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
March 19, 2014