Social Media ROI

One of the most difficult parts of social
media marketing
is actually proving its ROI. It’s easy to
throw numbers around – likes, new followers, comments and so on
– but how do you actually prove your return on investment from
social media? 

How do you demonstrate that your work is bringing in revenue or
helping the brand reach its marketing and business

In this post, I’m going to share some of my best and
most effective tips, tricks and tools to help prove your social
media ROI. Let’s go.

Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics: What’s the Difference?

“Vanity metrics” is a term that’s thrown around a lot, but
what does it actually mean in the context of social media
marketing, and how is it relevant to measuring and proving your

What Are Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics, as the name suggests, are metrics that
might make you feel good about yourself
– such as
generating a bunch of likes on an update or having a large number
of fans and followers – but if the metrics aren’t actually
relevant to your specific social media marketing objectives
(usually, the one’s management or clients ask for), then they are
simply vanity metrics. They might look good on paper (or that PDF
report you have to send regularly), but in the grand scheme of
things, they don’t really matter much to the bottom line. 

Or, another way to look at vanity metrics is as metrics
that don’t show a direct ROI, such as clicks, traffic and
conversions made, which are “actionable

This isn’t to say that followers, likes, comments and so on
aren’t important or relevant. In fact, depending on what your
marketing objectives are, they might even be the most relevant
stats you have. But in most cases, businesses care much more about
results that they can actually understand from their point of view:
a surge in traffic to their website, people signing up to their ,
social media fans buying their products or services or inquiring
about them and so on. 

Because of this, the way you prove your social media ROI,
depends on your objectives:

  • For objectives like brand awareness,
    engagement and so on, you can prove ROI simply by reaching
    objectives (for example, if your objective is to generate 200 new
    followers in 30 days, then you’ve proven ROI by reaching that
    goal). Alternatively, you can also assign these types of metrics a
    certain value. For example, a new follower might be worth $5, while
    a like could be worth $1.
  • For quantifiable objectives like conversions and sales
    , you can be much more accurate about actual return on
    investment, as conversions and sales have a much clearer monetary

How to Establish Your Social Media Marketing Objectives

Whatever your directive is – and what results you’re
supposed to achieve – you should always establish clear
objectives beforehand and run them by your manager or client. The
clearer you are about this from the start, the easier it will be to
prove ROI and avoid any misunderstandings. 

The SMART goal-setting template works perfectly in this

  • Be specific about what you want to achieve, down to the
    last detail
  • Make sure your goal is measurable and you know what KPIs
    you need to track so that you can actually prove your ROI 
  • Consider your goal carefully to make sure it’s actually
    attainable and you’re not shooting too high, which will
    mean you likely won’t be able to prove your ROI (consult your
    past analytics and results and use your gut instinct to ascertain
    whether a goal is truly attainable or not) 
  • Any social media objective should be relevant to that
    businesses’ marketing objectives – if the brand wants to raise
    awareness of their company, then your social media goals should
    reflect that
  • And finally, every goal should be time-bound – in
    other words — it needs a deadline! 

In short, SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable 
  • Relevant
  • And time-bound 

Establish your KPIs

As I mentioned before, one of the essential aspects of a good
objective is that it needs to be measurable. 

Once you’ve set an objective and decided that it is in fact,
measurable, you should also take the time to establish the exact
KPIs you’ll need to monitor in order to prove the success of your
objective. Below is a list of the most important and relevant
social media KPIs: 

  • Engagement: likes, comments, shares and retweets and so on
  • Reach
  • Traffic back to website/landing page
  • Conversions made: people signing up for a list
  • Leads generated 

When your campaign starts, you should also start carefully
tracking the relevant KPIs to monitor your performance and optimize
it as you go along. Plus, it will help you measure your
social media success

Here are 3 useful social media tools to help you track these KPIs
and prove your social media ROI: 1. Google Analytics & the
Google Campaign URL Builder

Google Analytics can
be one of your best friends when it comes to proving social media
ROI. It can track what your social media traffic is doing on your
website, as well as tell you how many conversions you’ve

To start leveraging Google Analytics to its full potential, make
sure to create relevant conversion goals first. You can set up to
20 different conversion goals by going to Admin and clicking on

Google Campaign URL Builder

Set up different conversion goals in the Google Analytics

As you can see above, you have multiple options for templates so
that you can measure all kinds of conversions:

  • Making a reservation or an appointment
  • Buying or paying for something
  • Signing up for your email list
  • Checking out your contact page
  • Playing a certain media, and more 

Select the template you want to use (although you can also start
from scratch) and follow the instructions to set up your conversion
goals. As I mentioned earlier, you’re not allowed unlimited
goals, so you might have to replace older ones that are no longer
relevant whenever you have a new goal to track (like a new service
you’re offering, or a different email list). 

Once you’ve created your goals, you’ll be able to track them
for all of your traffic including, of course, your social media

Then, when you head over to check your social media traffic in
Google Analytics, you’ll also see a conversion rate for each of
your social networks which will help you understand the quality of
your traffic and help you focus on the social networks that drive

Better yet, you’ll be able to see actual ROI from social media
conversions. However, in order to have this information, you need
give your conversion goals a monetary value when you set them up.
For example, an email sign up might be worth $10, while buying
something from you could be the average product or service

Another way to leverage Google Analytics is to use UTM tracking
links on your social media – you can create them using the
Campaign URL Builder

Google Campaign URL Builder

Create your tracking URLs with Google Campaign URL Builder.

Using UTM tracking links will allow you to really narrow down
your findings, much more so than Google Analytics can on its own.
For example, you can see which Facebook groups brought the most
traffic or what kind of results a specific social media campaign
brought in (traffic, conversions, etc.). 

Once you’ve set up these tracking links and started using
them, you can track them in your Google Analytics account, under
Acquisition – Campaigns. 

2. Agorapulse

Agorapulse has several
useful features for tracking social media ROI and success, beyond
the usual social media analytics: 

  • A social media ROI calculator for
    Facebook Pages
  • A built-in UTM link builder with dynamic features

First, let’s look at the ROI calculator. The tool uses 3
metrics to help determine an accurate ROI:

  • The number of engaged fans
  • The impressions you’ve generated
  • And the link clicks you got on your Page

The tool starts out with default values for each ($1/€1 for an
engaged fan, $5/€5 for impressions and $1/€1 for clicks); it
syncs its data on a daily basis and automatically generates your
ROI value, broken down as seen in the screenshot below:

ROI Calculator

That said, you can always customize the monetary values for each
in order to more accurately report your results: 

agorapulse measure

Discuss these values with clients/managers/etc. to come to a
mutual agreement over the value of these metrics and you’ll then
be able to automatically generate a Page’s ROI any time you need
it. All that’s left to do is keep an eye on your results so you
can change up your
social media strategy
when needed if you’re not getting
enough positive results. 

Beyond that, you also have access to
social media analytics
for multiple major social networks
(Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), as well as the ability to
export your reports. That said, the feature that I most want to
talk about is the built-in UTM builder; this option will appear
every time you upload a new update with a link:

Agorapulse UTM builder

Once you turn on UTM tracking, you can customize the parameters
to your liking and even add extra parameters beyond the usual
suspects (source, medium and campaign). And like before, you can
track the results with your web analytics. 

This feature will allow you to easily add UTM tracking links
(and shorten them automatically if you’ve also connected your account) to each and every link you share; even better, if
you’re sharing a link to multiple networks and want to save quite
a bit of time, you can select the “Dynamic” option under
“Type” and Agorapulse will automatically select the correct
social network, medium and profile and them to each UTM link.

To sum up, you can use these UTM tracking links in a
variety of ways, when it comes to measuring your results (as they
are also excellent tools for testing your social

  • To see where exactly your traffic is coming
    (not just the social network as a whole but specific
    traffic sources, such as groups, updates and so on) 
  • To see exactly how many conversions you’ve
    and what your ROI is from these conversions
    (but, as I mentioned before, you also need to set up the right
    conversion goals in Google Analytics) 

Beyond that, you can get creative and use them in other ways
too. For example, bra company
often uses shortened UTM links whenever they direct
people to their products, sales, offers, etc. within ad

UTM Tracking Example

This way, they’re not just tracking results from the actual
ad, but also from any comments happening. After all, it’s still
an ROI from social media and by using the UTM links they can
actually track to see if that comment helped them make a conversion
or sale. 

3. Cyfe

As you might recall from earlier, it’s good practice
to monitor your social media KPIs all the time, in order to
optimize your campaigns on the go – with the goal of improving
your results so that you can reach your objectives.

You can do so very easily with a business dashboard such as
Cyfe. Basically, it’s a
dashboard that you can connect to your social media analytics
(Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc.) and use it to
constantly monitor the KPIs you want. 

You can pull data from your social networks by using their
pre-built widgets; click on “add widget” and then on Social
Media to see what options you have:

Cyfe Dashboard

As you can see, you can track pretty much any major social
network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), as well as
your shares and clicks and Twitter, LinkedIn and
Facebook ads

Once you’ve taken the time to set it up, all you have to do is
log into your dashboard to see how your results are evolving –
use it not just to monitor these results, but also to help you put
together your ROI and social media reports, using the data provided
for the relevant social network.


With the right tools at your disposal and a strategy put in
place to help you calculate your ROI, measuring your social media
success doesn’t have to be the challenging feat that it might
appear at the first sight. All you have to do is remember the steps
you need to take in order to accurately measure your ROI:

  • Setting SMART objectives for your social media campaigns and
  • Establishing what KPIs you’ll need to track in order to
    measure your objectives’ success
  • Clarifying what conversions you need to focus on and setting up
    the right conversion goals in Google Analytics
  • Leveraging useful tools to help you track your social media
    metrics and KPIs and calculate your ROI

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when
having to prove social media ROI? What is your strategy like and
what types of tools do you use?   

The post
Social Media ROI: How to Prove Your Efforts Are Paying Off

appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social
Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting

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