3 Ways to Measure Social Media ROI
Ian Lurie Jul 14 2009
It’s very, very hard to measure social media in a way that credits it with all the great stuff it can do for an organization.
Sure, you can measure clicks from each social media outlet, and measure conversions from those clicks. But that’s a tiny, tiny sliver of the real story.
Here are three metrics I use to measure social media. Two of them require work. But that’s why we get paid, I believe.
Track conversions, straight-up. If you run a Facebook campaign and get 500 new orders in 3 days, woo hoo! Your work paid off.
If you get 5 orders, though, does that mean the campaign flopped? Not necessarily. So before your boss fires you for running that damned campaign that cost him $0/click, check out the next metrics.
2: Ranked pages
Search engine reputation management is a turf war. The more positions you can occupy in the top 10 search results on your name or brand, the harder it is for a smear campaign to get traction.
Twitter and Facebook pages get crawled and ranked, just like any other page on the internet. Get those into the top 10 for your brand name, and you probably just grabbed 30% of the total available real estate on page 1.
Look at what the folks at momAgenda accomplished (OK, they had a little help from moi) and you’ll see what I mean.
They have nothing to fear re: their reputation, but still, it’s nice to have that kind of control.
Valuation: If you need to assign a dollar value, you’ll have to create a scenario and model what would happen if someone’s gripe hit the front page of Google. Conservatively, what would that cost your company? If you now hold 2 more spots on page 1, then you reduced that cost by 20%. Rough math, I know, but it’s all we can use for this kind of hypothetical.
No ranked pages yet? On to the next statistic:
99% of social media sites nofollow their links, so you won’t get any direct link love for your labors.
However, other people visit your fan page, and see your Tweets. When they do, you acquire links. Here’s one client’s link profile after a major social media win:
See how the traffic falls back down, but links keep climbing? That link growth outlasts the burst of publicity a successful campaign gets you, every time. That’s one reason social media and SEO are inseparable.
Valuation. Assigning a dollar value to this is even harder, though. What’s a link really worth? I usually turn the argument on its head and ask, “What’s a #1 ranking for [insert phrase here] worth?”. Every link you add helps you get there. So while you can’t assign a hard value, there’s definitely a return there.
I could throw around terms like ‘goodwill’ and ‘branding’ but most CFOs don’t want to hear about that stuff. Stick with the metrics above.
Any others I’m missing?
CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More