5 Ways to Prove Social ROI
More and more brands are spending money on social media advertising (especially Facebook), and reporting success, after testing and adapting their approach. The relatively low cost and ease of submission make it easier for small businesses and large brands alike to get started with just shoestring budgets. However, for those who aren't familiar with analytics, ROI returns, both tracked and beyond those that can be tracked, can be difficult to find. We break down five top ways to show the affect that your social media advertising is bringing to your company or brand.
When embarking on any paid social media campaign, it's critical to ensure that the right tracking tools are in place to record when your visitors click through from an advert to your website or end goal. Usually this involves adding some code to your website as pixel tracking, which will record against your set campaign objective (such as the number of conversions), amongst other key metrics. It's important that this pixel is set up and tested before upping your media spend, to ensure that you can adequately test and track results. Once this is set up, often it can be re-used for future campaigns, although anyone using previous versions of the Facebook pixel, for example conversions and custom audiences, needs to be aware that Facebook is combining everything into one single pixel, phasing out previous versions towards the second half of this year.
All ad platforms should provide an option for reporting. However you'll also want to ensure that tracking via your Google Analytics account is set up. Aside from the basic referral data, UTM code tracking also should be used, which saves information about the referral campaign that sent that particular traffic to your site. More advanced Google Analytics can provide insights that can help inform the future optimisation of your ads too, so there's a lot that can be gained from here.
Do remember though that the social platform and Google Analytics figures are unlikely to match exactly, just like your internal system data. Value can be added via collating info from a number of analytics tools (each system cannot be 100% accurate), and applying a good dollop of common sense and insight when interpreting data.
Estimate the equivalent value
There are plenty of examples of brands looking at richer even than tracking than the figures from paid advertising. An often overlooked outcome of social can be the rich data – qualitative and quantitative – that comes from running a strong social presence and the listening aspect of capturing conversations your customers are having. This is one area where social really comes into its own; if the cost of data collected from social media were compared to a research project, the relatively low setup and ongoing costs of social would prove incredible value. Knowing that their community was the best resource for brand insights and R&D is something that Starbucks tapped into with MyStarbucksIdea.com way back in 2008. Starbucks joined other global brands in understanding that social media is effective simply if it can move the business on, as experienced with their project and many more in recent years. Some other cost comparisons you can try include media buying and share of voice from effective social media campaigns.
How much would it have cost via traditional media for Sainsburys to promote their re-named product for example in one of our favourite examples of social spread? Although sometimes a good social media campaign needs paid support to break through the noise, the relative spend is still much lower than traditional advertising.
Cross-channel internal benefits
Anyone who has stepped foot inside a typical e-commerce or well-known brand will know that there are many people behind the scenes who help keep the internal mechanics working as well as keeping a good impression of the brand externally. Many teams can be a key touchpoint in this, such as the CRM Manager, Database Analyst, IT Manager, E-communications team, through to the Customer Service team, PR and the MD. Social media has broken down barriers between internal and external communications, and forced many brands to address their internal processes for the good of the brand. Taking this a step further, social media is likely to be a catalyst in your digital transformation.
Overall, this has meant that companies have had to speed up and be more transparent with customers. The internal Social Media Executive has needed to be even more integrated with the whole company in order to do this. Overall internal benefits include saving time for customer services (and often relieving a lot of pressure from this team before a customer issue gets to them), perhaps meaning that customer services can focus on larger customer issues. For the CRM team, they are receiving higher quality and richer information on the customer and their journey, as well as any potential insights for the marketing team to exploit.
Engagement & influence
Tools such as sentiment analysis mean we can not only track how many people interact with a certain brand or topic, we can review how they feel about it. This can include whether the conversation is wholly positive or negative, and how potential customers feel towards the brand, e.g. interpreting likelihood to purchase. At an early stage, this can be hugely beneficial to R&D teams, allowing necessary tweaks to be made before launching a new product for example.
The audience can be further analysed for influence, and added to the engagement findings, adding weighing to key insights.
Capacity & utilisation
Every company can use social media for its own internal benefit. We'd say do what works for your brand and operations structure. Some examples include customer feedback, direct ordering or appointment booking or sales / capacity promotions. In addition, the customer services department’s benefit from this channel is only set to grow.
Many brands are getting smarter at this in recent years, and using channels such as Twitter and Facebook to full last-minute capacity to ensure effective running of the company and to maximise profits.
Analytics is the most obvious and key ROI measurement tool to get in place prior to running your social media campaigns, but many brands stop here, when there are so many other advanced areas to track, that all count towards your returns. When you set up your next campaign or receive your next customer service query, consider how this contributes to the wider digital footprint and bottom line. Social media is likely to pay off more than you think.
Related posts - 10 Questions to ask your Social Media Consultant