Social media ROI: survey results

Last month we sent out a survey to our customers and prospects about the latest social media trends. We have been pouring over the results and I want to start to release them this week with a discussion of measuring social media.

One of our survey questions was how do you measure the ROI of social media? As you can see from the responses below, there was no leading method for measuring ROI.

This response in particular came as somewhat of a surprise. I was hoping that among the industry leaders that were responding to this survey that they had a clear answer for how to measure their social media projects accurately. As I thought about this more, it makes sense that there is no one measure, but a combined approach to understanding the impact that social media has on a marketing campaign.

You can draw an analogy to measuring the performance of a sales organization. Certainly, sales teams look at the closed deals that individuals bring in, but there are other metrics too: number of outbound calls, total pipeline value, number of new leads and many others that provide the whole picture to how a sales professional performs within an organization. Similarly, social media has a similar range of metrics that can be used from total ad revenue, page views, total number of visitors, length of visit and more. These different measures can be combined to provide an accurate assessment for how a campaign is performing.

It should be noted that while marketers are using many measures to understand social media, there is still work to be done. Our survey shows that while close to 60% of the survey respondents claim a neutral or positive ROI, 41% do not know what the ROI is of their social media campaigns. Whether this can be attributed to lack of clear goals, reporting that can’t keep up with technology (RSS and widgets), or a combination of these and other factors remains to be seen.

The current bottom line for social media ROI metrics: there is no one silver bullet. Smart marketers are leveraging the wide range of the currently available metrics at their disposal to measure the ROI of their social media programs.
– Colin

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