In Search of Social Media ROI

We all know we need to measure the impact of our social media efforts. But how? Determining the return on investment (ROI) of social media is a challenge.

Every brand has different business goals, different audiences, and different reasons for using social media. So, it follows that there is no single ROI formula that works for every organization.

The right ROI measures are specific to you, and defining them starts with asking the right question. You need to get to the specifics of what you want to achieve on social media.

  • What business challenges do you want to solve?
  • What are your social media objectives?
  • What is the baseline that you want to impact?

If you don’t take the time to answer these questions, you can’t truly measure the impact of your social media effort. You can see trends in traffic and engagement, but you won’t know if it really matters to your business.

Social media metrics like reach, impressions and engagement are offered by all the major platforms and other tools. What they don’t necessarily tell you is whether any of that is helping you with your business challenge or advancing your objectives.

Define what it means to achieve your goal and reach your objectives. Then, select social metrics that reflect progress.  If your goal is to increase sales, then the number of followers on Facebook is not nearly as important as the sales numbers.

Don’t be afraid to start with assumptions of what measures will accurately reflect progress. It can be difficult to make a direct correlation between social activity and goals.

The important thing is to start with defining what you want to achieve. Then assess. You may need to refine your metrics as you go.

  • Are you making progress toward business goals?
  • Are objectives being met?
  • What role does each social tactic play?

Ask yourself these questions regularly. Look at the data. Adjust as needed.

Yes, You Can Measure Public Relations!

It can be challenging to measure the impact of PR with data. But, it is not impossible!

Here Google Analytics Advocates Krista Seiden and Louis Gray bring you up to speed on the latest with the measurement platform, and illustrate how Google tools can be leveraged for the changing world of public relations. They touch on Data Studio, Google Trends, the Google Search Console, URL Builder and more.

Measure Success on Social Media

Measuring success on social media depends on your goal. You must track the metrics that show progress toward that goal. That is the only data that is meaningful.

This requires that, as you formulate your strategy, you also define how you will measure progress. Here are some ideas for measures that might make sense.

3 Metrics to Avoid


Generally, likes aren’t insightful measures. People mindlessly like things, and those clicks don’t tell you much. In fact, search engines have reduced the credibility assigned to a brand based on likes.

Website Traffic

Website traffic is another commonly used, but incomplete, metric. Traffic alone does not tell you about who is visiting and what they are doing. Dig deeper.


Overall, people lurk more and comment less. Measuring your success against the average number of comments will only confirm that you are impacted by this trend like everyone else. There’s no great insight to be gained.

3 Metrics to Consider

Share of Voice

Monitor mentions of your brand and the “voice” of these mentions – positive, negative or neutral. A tool like Social Mention can assess your brand’s mentions in comparison to your competitors. You can also look at the best performing competitors for insight and ideas.

Customer Service Provided

People expect to connect with brands for customer service. Monitoring how well you do in that category can be a bellwether for your brand overall. Track issues, platforms used by customers to raise them, and, most importantly, response time. In general, the faster the response time, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Website Traffic Sources and Conversions

Social media should be used to drive interest in your brand and traffic to your website. Pay attention to your website traffic sources to make sure your social efforts are proportional to the traffic generated.

Further, track these visitors against your site conversion goal. Whether you want sign ups for your email list, a product sale, or some other action, watch your conversions. With Google Analytics, you can define and track your website conversion goal.