For Better or Worse? Social Media ROI Measurement is Changing

November 6, 2013
The ways companies are measuring social media ROI are changing

Once in a job interview I was asked, “How should companies measure return on investment of social media?” It’s the query of the decade, and the answer varies depending on who you ask. But recently companies have been moving away from traditional measurements and toward things like brand awareness and customer relations.

Social media measurement is changing

While many companies have spent the last few years focusing on dollar-value metrics — conversion rate, profit per customer, customer acquisition costs, etc. — for their ROI calculations, a recent study by BI Intelligence indicates things are getting a bit more touchy-feely. Organizations are now starting to gauge the value of their social media campaigns based on "audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations."

Is this the right move?

While I’m glad to hear of companies’ willingness to look at something other than conversions and revenue (this can be complex and expensive to track when it comes to social media), I do worry that too much focus on “shares” and “retweets” could result in depending heavily on unactionable vanity metrics.

There’s lots of advice out there on how to prove the value of social media without worrying about conversions and monetary gain, but they feel flimsy at best.

Besides, can you imagine imagine most CEOs’ response to, “We have 10,000 followers and our latest post got 950 shares!” being anything other than, “And how much money did that make us?”

Do you like this new trend in social media ROI measurement? How do you measure social media’s effectiveness?

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[Image: Adam Bartlett