Justifying the Investment: Analytics For Social Media

March 1, 2012
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Good morning, friends! Are you ready for the last day of SMX West? I’m hoping my laptop issues from yesterday have been resolved (I think they have) so keep your fingers crossed for me. Otherwise, I may have an epic meltdown right here in the middle of the conference. And that really wouldn’t be pretty. For you or for me.

Up first today we have an all-female panel with the likes of Tami Dalley, Merry Morud, Monique Pouget, and Courtney Seiter.  It’s definitely the sexiest panel of SMX, IMHO. These ladies are going to rock it.

Greg Finn is officially the luckiest man alive and gets moderating duties for this one. He starts off by thanking Covario for all the hangovers people have today. They sponsored the party last night, which was pretty rockin’. I’ve never felt so old in my life.  And with that, let’s just start.

Up first is Courtney.

We’re not going to talk about the ROI of your cell phone or your business card or your pants. We’re going to talk about actual metrics, not philosophy. SNAP!

Whenever Courtney reads a blog post about social media ROI she always thinks of that spammy ad for cutting belly fat that was all over the Internet a little while ago.  There’s no silver bullet for social media just like there isn’t one for losing your belly. Aint that the truth.

  • Only 20 percent of CMOs think social media marketing produces measurable ROI
  • Only 19 percent of marketers feel confident measuring ROI

But even with that, 100 percent of us know that social media is working even if we can’t define it in that classical ROI sense. We know that it’s benefiting our brand but how do we bridge that disconnect and prove its working?

3 weird old tips for understanding social media ROI

  1.  Know your goals
  2. Align social metrics
  3. Break it down

Know Your Business’ Goals

Marketers are having a hard time feeling confident measuring social media ROI.  We know that leads and sales are happening, so we’re getting it.  But what should we be looking at?

Common Social Media Goals

  • Brand sentiment
  • Share of voice
  • reach
  • engagement
  • brand advocates
  • brand trust
  • sales
  • customer support
  • product development
  • marketing insights
  • brand loyalty

Gilt Groupe

Goal: Solve shipping costs barrier online using insight from online community.

They were finding people were putting things in their shopping cart and then abandoning. They had a feeling it was their high shipping costs. They used their online community as a focus group to help identify the problem. They found out it was shipping costs that were the problem. Armed with this insight they were able to lower their shipping costs. As a result they saw a 10 percent increase in shopping cart conversion.


They worked with a company called Ant’s Eye View. Their goal was a support goal. They knew they had a lot of negative sentiment on the Web. They set out to blanket the Web with solutions to customer problems. 21,000 customer service issues resolved. 37,500 customers served.


Goal: Increase awareness and products sales at salons.

They had a goal of 4,000 salons participating in a campaign. They had 6,000 salons participating and had 2.2 million engagements.

Align Social Metrics With Goals

What are people measuring? We are very interested in getting down to measuring the tougher stuff like sales and conversions but what we tend to focus on are the vanity metrics – followers, friends and fans.  These are not going to help us get to that ultimate goal of justifying the investment. How do we get to more specific goals?

  • Reduction in sales cycles
  • Reduction in customer suupport costs
  • Number of product improvement suggestions from [social network]
  • Increase in product reviews/ratings

If you’re measuring brand sentiment you can do that by:

  • sheer volume
  • positive reviews
  • # of mentions of your brands value-add
  • average resolution time to reputation crises

Measuring Customer Support

  • Reduction in support costs
  • Reduction in on-site support
  • increase resolution rate
  • improved customer happiness

Measuring Product Innovation

  • Number of new product ideas
  • Number of new product ideas built
  • Research time saved
  • Traditional research cost savings

Break It Down

  • By goal
  • By campaign
  • By time period
  • By medium
  • Even by post

Asking what’s the ROI of social media is like asking what’s the meaning of life. We’re all going to have different answers.

To measure Share of Voice divide brand mentions by total mentions

To measure engagement, measure interactions divided by total views

Use event tracking and campaign variables in Google Analytics to assess content virality.

https://gaconfig.com – Free tool designed to help you set up more advanced goals in Google Analytics.

Next up is Monique.

Monique is going to talk about Facebook Sweepstakes, especially a sweepstake they ran for Bozzuto, an apartment complex.

Showing Sweepstakes ROI

They came up with an idea for a sweepstakes for Bozzuto. They wanted to get insider secrets about their region and the people they were targeting. They wanted to learn more about the regions Bozzuto has their apartments in.

Total Promotion Costs

  • Prize
  • Print Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Design/Copywriting
  • Call Tracking Software
  • Email Management Tool
  • Sweepstakes Management Tool
  • Online Marketing Agency or Manual Management

Sweepstakes Management Tool

They used WildFire. It gave them a lot of great capabilities and was the right price.  There are plenty of other third-party tools.  They were able to set up a microsite and a Facebook tab with Wildfire. It let them create a consistent brand image. They were able to create banner and copy ad. Another thing they learned about Facebook promotions is you can’t force people to like your brand. You have to just “encourage” it.  They also gave people the option to enter the contest via tweeting, writing on their wall, etc. They could also set up a blog post or a YouTube video to enter that way.

Show Me The KPIs

KPI 1 – Email

They wanted to build up their asset. They were able to collect emails using Wildfire. They could see where they entered, if they liked the page, and if they were a resident of Bozzuto already.  They were able to look at total costs/new emails to get the cost per email.  They found it was lower than normal.

KPI 2 – Social Referral Traffic

They created an advanced segment and layered that over the regular Facebook page. It was interesting to see where people were coming from when they landed on that page. Let them build other networks into their advanced segmentation, too.

KPI 3 – Website Traffic From A Link

They created vanity URLs that took advantage of different parameters.  The vanity URLs were easier for people to remember when they saw them in display ads. They were able to connect that to referring sources.  They could see where people were coming to their site from.  You can also lay that over goal information.

KPI 4 – Leads

Phone calls from dynamic call tracking phone numbers used on Sweepstakes page.  They also tracked regular contact form completions track with Google Analytics Goals.  This was major because they are driven by leads.  For them even one lead could have been worth it as an apartment complex.  Total costs/Active leads = Cost Per Lead

KPI 5- Banner and Facebook Ad

KPI 6 – Entries

Were able to get the cost per entry down. Every sweepstakes has had a lower and lower cost per entry.

KPI 7 – Twitter Engagement

Growing in twitter followers, mentions, RTs, clicks, #hashtag use

KPI 8 – Facebook Engagement

Growth in facebook fans, likes comments, wall posts, s hares, clicks

Need More Facebook & Twitter Metrics

Beyond KPIs – Conversations

Social media is like the wild wild west when you try to compare it to traditional ROI.  She recommends using storify to help tell a conversation from around the Web. It tells a better story than complete stats.  They make a storify for each one of their sweepstakes.

Next up is Tami.

She’s wearing a bright orange dress to try and compensate for her hangover. Gotta respect that.

How do you measure success and value? She has two tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert. Which has more value? Value is specific to you. Your task is to determine the best measure of value for your business goals.

Current Measurement Trends

She talks about a joint research project she did with another company. They asked what metrics people used to measure social

  • reach
  • buzz
  • engagement
  • participation
  • transactions

Most brands feel the benefit of social media happens in the upper stage of the conversion funnel.  It can help there but it can also help macro conversions.

Support Social Sharing

Embed sharing buttons to drive referral traffic, sales and conversions.  Sharing has no variable costs.

  • Cost of each share=0
  • Cost of impression=0
  • Cost per download=0
  • Cost per visit =0

It starts to make sense from a financial perspective. It’s important because people trust their friends opinions more than they trust us. So they’re twice as likely to trust information coming from their friends in social and email.

It drives traffic to the top of the funnel. On average, a single share drives 6 new visitors to a Web site. 10,000 shares is 60,000 new visitors you didn’t have to pay for.  If your average CPC is .90, you save 54,000 using social sharing.

Social sharing visitors drives high value visitors. Sales resulting from ConversionBuddy shares have 26 percent higher Average order Value than other channels.  It drives both micro and macro conversions.

But….to justify the investment it must be tied to conversions.  You need to be measuring these things. That’s how you get a business case for social media.

Value Through Market Research

Solicit Opinion: Example – ask them what they’re reading. They asked and mined the information. They were able to find groups of magazines that their fans read. As a marketer that’s valuable information.  Use learnings across multiple channels.


  • Find metrics that match your goals
  • Social sharing must be measured
  • Use social as a market research tool

Next up is Merry.

How to Eat Your Social Data

Organic Facebok Questions

  • What are your goals?
  • What are your KPIs?
  • How big is your circle?
  • Where can we associate conversations?
  • TO what extent was your content exposed
  • What TYPES of content received the most exposure
  • How did users engage? Rebroadcast? Like?
  • What are the demographics if your audience?

Facebook has analytics called Insights.

You can tell the total number of likes

  • Friends of Fans = your page’s reach potential
  • People who are talkinga bout – numbe rf uqnie people who have created content about your page on FC
  • Weekly Total Reach = # of peopel who have seen your updates this week
  • Overview Graph
  • Page Posts= lets you see virality for each post

[You know how I can tell Merry works for Aimclear? Because she throws out AWESOME INFORMATION at lightning speed just like her boss Marty does.  I’m doing my best to keep up but she’s seriously flying through her slides. ]

Identify Your Needs

  • Page Management
  • Multiple Accounts
  • Social Listening
  • Robust Analytics
  • Reporting

Button & URL Analytics Tools

Social & Open Graph Site Tool

Janrain – free – $2,250+yr

  • Use login with existing social profiles
  • single sign in across multiple sites
  • socially share activity
  • stores users demographic info
  • loyalty reward games

Google: Social Interaction Analytics

  • Facebook and Twitter
  • Engagement
  • Action  – what action was taken

Social Monitoring Tools

Twitter Specific Tools

Facebook Tools: Tab/Contest

Facebook Management

Facebook Management & Analytics

Posting & Listening + Analytics + Reporting POWERHOUSES

SEO+ PPC + Social + Analytics SUPER POWERHOUSE

  • Raven

Wow, that was a lot of info. I’d recommend you getting your hands on Merry’s slides if you can. She had a lot of great info to go along with her tool recs but…well, she talks super fast.

Read the rest of our SMX West 2012 liveblogging coverage for more insight.

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