Every marketer knows that digital and social media marketing are overtaking traditional forms of advertising such as print and Out of House. Used effectively these channels can boost conversions, facilitate brand engagement, provide marketplace insights, help build authentic relationships and share your brand with bigger audiences – all whilst requiring lesser budgets. However, truly effective use of online channels means far more than simply posting some engaging content, on-brand visuals and targeted promotions. It requires analysis and assessment as part of a continual process of improvement.
The challenge of measurement
One of the most significant challenges of effectively using social media is to accurately measure ROI and assess the success of your campaign. Without this, you stand no hope of refining your campaigns for better results, or knowing where your activity is having an impact.
Furthermore, when you fail to measure the results of your online marketing campaigns the potential downsides of social media marketing can become magnified. Firstly, it is time intensive and errors can damage your brand. Perhaps most critically of all, ROI is tricky to measure and many marketers are still failing to get to grips with the analytics needed to assess this channel and prove its value.
Getting it right
So how can you measure your social media advertising and establish your digital advertising ROI?
Firstly, establish some KPIs and metrics that are meaningful to your business. Typically, the best ones are customer-centric. Remember that a KPI is a measure used to assess success and progress towards a business goal. Ultimately, they are action-focused and tied back to your broader objectives and goals. Popular social marketing metrics include likes and followers as a basic, link clicks and engagement (shares, comments etc), mentions, event attendance and share rate.
To assess impact, KPIs such as the click through rate, sales per channel and growth of followers are all useful. Ultimately, the ones you choose however will depend on your original campaign goals. For campaign management, remember to include the cost per visitor acquisition.
Using the right tools
The good news is that there is a vast selection of free tools and paid services alike that make social media activity easy to measure once you have your dashboard of metrics in place. Look at Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and LinkedIn Analytics.
Making use of your metrics
Once you have your data in place the most crucial element of all comes into play – analysing it, understanding its meaning and using it to make management decisions. A dashboard is a useful format for assessing trends across set KPIs and metrics. Produce an interactive dashboard each month for the management team and marketing directors to analyse, with a summary report and identification of key issues for next steps planning and sign-off on proposed activity.
By getting this feedback loop in place – one that is data driven and that supports the loop of evaluation, analysis and refinement of activity, marketing becomes a planned and proven process rather than a series of ad-hoc events.