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Measuring Social Media ROI

Social media is now more than ever an impactful marketing channel. Thus, measuring the return on your social media is no longer optional. However, marketers often make the mistake of diving straight into measuring and reporting without a clear plan.

The returns from social media can be great when a business has a clear strategy that takes into account what needs to be achieved, who the customers are and what the competition doing.

And acting upon a clear strategy, with measuring and tracking social media ROI accurately, let’s marketers put more time and resources into what’s working and gives insight to improving the tactics that aren’t delivering real value.

Measuring social media ROI is important for countless reasons:

  • It gives the value of social media to your overall goals and business objectives
  • It clearly shows where efforts and resources are being used efficiently
  • It evaluates where resources are being wasted, or not used as efficiently as possible
  • It recognises gaps in strategy, key messages, and content
  • It indicates where and if the budget is being used most effectively

The kind of social media ROI metrics used are subjective to the strategy goals and objectives the organisation has set.

An organisation should start by defining the KPIs for their social strategy, breaking them down into macro KPIs (for the whole strategy e.g. increase traffic from social media) and micro KPIs (channel specific e.g. increase RT rate on Twitter).

It is important for an organisation to continuously assess what challenges they’re facing, the goals that need to be developed around them and what KPI’s should be used against them.

Here are a few examples:

Challenge 1: Decreasing customer retention
Goal 1: Increase social media engagement
Social media metrics to measure: Likes, Shares, Comments, Retweets, Mentions, Favorites

Challenge 2: A drop in website traffic
Goal 2: Increase customer acquisition on your website
Social media metrics to measure: URL clicks and traffic from social media

Challenge 3: Weak brand awareness
Goal 3: Increase brand awareness
Social media metrics to measure: Follower growth rate, percentage change over time in followers, Twitter sentiment, reach by region, clicks by region

Now how does an organisation keep track of all their goals when they all require different metrics and their success rates are determined over different time periods?

Creating intervaled reports that are customised to an organisations relevant goals and objectives helps to keep on top of things.

Here are four ways to do effective social media reporting:


The Daily dashboard

Requiring proactive social channel management, this is more for the social media team. The aim being to monitor daily fluctuations in activity, spotting changes quickly and being able to react timeously.

The Weekly KPI report

Your weekly KPI report should contain data that is aligned with your social media goals. This would usually involve creating custom dashboards in Google Analytics or using other tools that offer periodic, rolling and campaign reports. The key to this report is using it to compare key metrics from previous or corresponding weeks.

There are 4 different dimensions that are useful when compiling weekly reports:

  • Acquisition e.g. new visitors
  • Engagement e.g. time on page / visit depth
  • Conversion e.g. goal completion
  • Retention e.g. # return customers

The Monthly roll-up report

Monthly reports enable an objective performance comparison over a longer period of time for management teams. Showing if fluctuations are trends or isolated incidents. As well as helping to contextualise external factors that have short-term impact, to ensure that changes made to the social media plan are based on exceptions rather than the norm.

A monthly report should highlight:

  • Performance vs. last month
  • Performance vs. corresponding month from last year
  • High-level KPI movement including acquisition, engagement, conversion and retention

The Quarterly strategy review

This is less about metric reporting and more about insight, action and prioritisation. The goal of a quarterly review is to assess how relevant the strategy still is, what has been learned and what will influence planning for the next quarter.

A quarterly review should evaluate the following:

  • Progress against goals – KPI deliver
  • What worked better/worse than expected and why?
  • What barriers are there to delivering against goal
  • What have we learned that can help us improve our social media marketing effectiveness, and from this, what information should be shared with other departments

Measuring and reviewing your social media ROI gives insight into what has been learnt, what issues need to be tackled and where the opportunities are.

An organisation should continuously make sure that the next steps and actions determined from the social media reports continue to support the relevant goals and objectives.

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Paula Gries

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