How To Track Effectively Online & Social Media ROI
Return on investment (ROI) is the cornerstone of business. Every business, big or small, knows there’s no point in investing money and resources anywhere if there’s no payoff. ROI is the reward for all the time, effort and resources a business commits to its digital, social and mobile marketing. However, tracking and validating ROI isn’t something that’s easily accomplished or well understood by many, if not most, businesses.
In fact, 60% of small business owners are unable to track ROI from social media activities, even though 89% are doing things such as monitoring traffic to their website and 55% are concerned with measuring their share of voice online. So, why the challenge? Well, a lot of companies tend to avoid measuring online ROI due to an inability to tie social media to business results, unreliable data, poor measurement and tracking tools, inconsistent analytical approaches, or simply a lack of analytics know-how and resources.
Here’s the thing — ROI doesn’t have to be an impossible or even an elusive task when it comes to tracking and measuring results for your online business. ROI itself is a simple matter of calculating the difference between the average cost of marketing actions from revenue generated from those actions. Simple…but you need some more information before you can calculate the cost and gain, right? Well in order to know if your business is getting results, it needs to do a few things. By setting relevant and appropriate goals, as well as identifying the right KPIs — the correct web and social media metrics to track — any business can assess where efforts and resources are best utilized, how well specific brand actions are performing on web and social, where to fill gaps in strategy and content, and whether the online marketing budget is efficient.
Once your business determines what it’s trying to achieve online, such as increasing engagement, awareness, traffic, and so on, the next immediate step is identifying appropriate KPIs to track. The following lists break down some examples of appropriate Keep Performance Indicators (KPIs) associated with three major, common online marketing objectives.
When focusing on customer acquisition on your website, focus on:
- URL clicks
- Referrals coming from social media
When focusing on engagement, you may want to track and measure:
- Link clicks
- Brand mentions
- Website or profile visits
- Active followers
When focusing on brand awareness, you may want to track and measure:
- Follower or fan growth
- Traffic data
Once your business has identified marketing goals for its web, social and/or mobile presence, as well as identified the correct KPIs to track, you will need some analytics tools to allow you to be able to track and measure those KPIs (metrics) over a period of time. Luckily, there are a number of tools that are incredibly useful in doing just that. These days, options such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite and SocialReport are great for monitoring big picture data, like traffic, conversion paths, eCommerce, app data and more. Most social media channels also have built-in analytics tools for measuring the success of published content, both paid (or “boosted”) and unpaid. Businesses can monitor KPIs online as well as download metrics reports for more detailed analysis or data manipulation in programs like Excel.
With access to data that describes the relationship between your KPIs and your online marketing activities, your business will be ready to analyze data, determine ROI, and decide whether current strategies and platforms are working or in need of further testing and consideration. All in all, tracking, measuring and validating ROI for your website and social profiles doesn’t have to be difficult, it just requires a thoughtful and consistent approach, and a clear plan. If you still have questions about ROI, or you’re a small, local business in need of outside marketing and analytics support, contact us today and ask us how we can help!