Social Media Metrics – Putting Your Money Where Your Clicks Are

cassyp    June 20, 2017

When I first started this course, I admittedly knew absolutely nothing about how to derive true value from social media.  I knew it was valuable, I knew there were tonnes of organizations profiting from using it, I just didn’t know where to look or what I was looking for.  I’m generally a pretty practical person – I want to know how and why A + B = C.  As a result, this article is essentially me interpreting what I learned during my foray into social media metrics.

Social media has, as we are discovering, infinite possibilities and uses.  The ability to connect online to wide audiences, garner feedback, share offerings and information, and observe trends are just a few of the important ways social media is changing the face of business.  Despite all of these incredibly beneficial uses, some businesses and people still have trouble seeing the true value.  These people are “numbers” people – they want to see the pudding.  They need to know exactly how the money and time they are investing in an endeavour are turning into profit – completely understandable in the context of running a successful business.  So how does one turn something so vast and infinite into something that is measurable and valuable?   There are some important measurements to be mindful of called Social Media Metrics.

Measuring Success.  And Failure.

You can’t improve what you cannot measure.  That’s why its important to track the various metrics social media can provide so that you can see where you are succeeding and where you need to improve or change course when it comes to your social media investments.   However, some metrics are more important than others.  “Vanity Metrics” are things like views, likes, and followers, and while they can indicate that your online presence is relevant (or not), they don’t necessarily translate into profit.

  Just because followers, likes, comments, re-tweets, and shares are important to you as a social marketer doesn’t make them inherently valuable to the rest of your organization. Your CEO doesn’t care that you got 50 new followers, they care whether or not social media is demonstrably helping achieve their objectives.

While tracking vanity metrics is important, its arguably more important to track metrics that translate into solid leads or sales.  These metrics are often called “Conversions”.

What is a conversion?

Conversions will differ in their definition from business to business depending on the nature of the business and its ultimate goals.  Some of the standard conversion events include:  new followers on a platform, adding an item to their cart, online purchases, filling out a contact form, signups for a newsletter or webinar, downloads of a .PDF file, and time spent on the webpage.  Defining what constitutes a conversion is the first step in measuring the impact of social media within your enterprise.  Depending on which one you are using, some platforms like Facebook and Twitter have built within them the ability to create and track these conversion events.

How Do Conversions Translate into $$$?

Measuring the value of your conversions can be a little tricky if you don’t have predefined goals.  Adding conversion goals to your social media campaign will allow you to track the conversions that are adding value to your bottom line, and to see where a campaign or online stream may be falling short or costing more than it is bringing in.  In order to attribute a value to a conversion, it would help to know a few things to start.

First, you will need to know how much a particular conversion is worth to your business.  For this example we will use the easiest conversion to measure which is a sale.  Let’s say you spend $500 on social media ads, and it leads to 50 sales @ $20 per sale (for a total of $1000).  So, at first glance it would appear as though you had 100% return on your investment.  However, you would still need to factor in the Cost of Goods Sold.  So, if it costs you $5 per item sold, you would make $15 per sale.  $15 x 50 sales = $750.  Then you would subtract the cost of your social media investment ($500) and your return would be closer to $250, so 50% ROI.

Next, you will need to be able to track your conversion metrics over time.  Some social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter have built within them tools to measure some of the more basic stats such as likes, tweets, click-through rate and reach.  But if you’re looking for something that can track more profound metrics such as CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), cost per acquisition, and YOY (year-over-year growth), you can either use Google Analytics, or a paid service such as Hootsuite, Brandwatch, or SproutSocial, to name a few.  Being that Google Analytics is free, it would be a great place to start. Using tracking codes and analytic goals, you are able to see and track where clicks are coming from, which content is performing well, which content could use improvement, as well as which campaigns and content are leading to actual conversions.  This is vital information when reviewing and justifying your social media investments.

Lessons for Others

While the topic of social media metrics is vast and varied, honing in on what you’d like social media to do for your business by defining set, measurable goals, will allow you to leverage social media metrics in a variety of important ways.    While vanity metrics are important to see in terms of brand awareness, customer impact and reach, tracking more substantial metrics allows you to see if your efforts are yielding the results you’re looking for.

Organization: Google
Industry: Internet
Name of Organization Contact: Sundar Pichai, CEO

Authored by: CassyP

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


References

  1. Dawley, Sarah.  2017 May 30.  “Do Vanity Metrics Matter on Social Media?  Yes (and No).  Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/vanity-metrics/

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