SMX live blog: ‘Measuring Success: From Reach To ROI’

Raven liveblog

Session description:

Everyone seems “certain” of social media’s value. But how do you prove it offers a return on investment, especially if you’re trying to persuade clients or management to invest marketing dollars? This session looks at social media analytics methods, how to measure “conversions” when there may be no tangible transactions, as well as tools available to measure ROI and performance.


Mark Cooper, Chief Marketing Officer, Co-founder, Offerpop (@offerpop)
Ethan Dobson, Director of Online Marketing, Offerpop (@offerpop)
Nan Dawkins, Founder, CEO, Social Snap (@NDawkins_SC)
Jon Morris, CEO, Rise Interactive (@JonBMorris)
Moderator: Chris Sherman, VP of Event Editorial, Third Door Media, Inc.

What they said:

Nan Dawkins

Nan Dawkins of Social Snap starts out by talking about the brand Perpetual Kid, a wacky products company with a highly engaged community – up to 2,000 interactions per post.

But one morning their Facebook page was gone (it’s a long story). If they were going to continue on Facebook, they were going to have to start all over.

To make the decision, they matched customer records to Facebook and proved that the lifetime value of a Facebook customer was 30% higher than a non-Facebook customer. And if they had entered a contest, their lifetime value was 72% higher.

“These people buy repeatedly.”

Needless to say, Perpetual Kid got back on Facebook.

Nan says the two biggest problem with ROI is that 1) there’s too much data and 2) it’s all living in silos.

“We are drowning in data. We have so much data it’s unbelievable. Data’s not our problem.”

To solve both problems, we we have to focus on combining analytics with CRM data. When you can connect referring source to a customer record, then you know not only how the sale was made but who the customer is.

If you can’t connect all the way to purchase, focus on leads using metrics like volume, month-to-month changes, year-to-date trends. One cheap and easy way to start getting that data is to use campaign variables in your links.

Nan’s advice for talking to senior executives: Make sure you have defensible data. Give them the big picture. Boil it down for them.

Ethan Dobson

Next is Ethan Dobson of Offerpop, who says that “how you talk about ROI is almost as important as what you’re measuring.”

He’s going to focus on the opportunity to take the social media marketer role and, with data, elevate it to a place where you can have strategic impact on your company.

The average industry cost to acquire an email address was $8.37 in 2010, and each one netted 15 cents of revenue. But with Facebook, you can collect emails at a cost of $.22 and they net an average total revenue of $720 per campaign. Big difference!

Social media data is the missing piece. With a CRM, you can see who your customers really are and what they’re interested in today.

When you have a view of that person, them you can elevate social in your organization and have bigger conversations about driving impact.

How do you use social to empower your organization? Consider measuring:

  • Data acquired
  • Trends discovered
  • Campaigns informed
  • Revenue generated
  • First-touch awareness
  • Elevating awareness
  • SEO impact
  • Email addresses


Jon Morris

Finally we have Jon Morris of Rise Interactive, who’s focusing on competitive intelligence. Oooh, exciting!

“Internet marketers don’t spend time analyzing the competition. Imagine if you start analyzing what they’re doing, seeing what their weaknesses are and exploiting them, knowing that they’re not going to do the same.”

First, you have to know what makes your company great. Dig deep and find you unique competitive advantage.

“It’s the DNA of your company.”

That should be one of the main themes of your content. Consider:

  • Message: Are your competitors communicating their unique advantage? What can you learn and use?
  • Content type: Are your competitors doing video and you’re not? Watch the videos and find out if what they’re doing is more engaging than what you’re doing.
  • Content syndication: Where are your competitors? Are they on all the same networks you are? Can you find a space to own where there are few competitors?
  • Content frequency: People who tweet too much are annoying in your feed and risk being unfollowed. Determine the right amount of messages to send a day.

On to subscribers. Great content means nothing without people listening.

Compare the number of subscribers you have on each of your social media networks to that of your competitors. Who has the bigger reach?

Next, find out who’s growing their subscribers at a greater rate. This is also useful competitive intelligence.

Finally, make sure you know both your goals and your competitors’ goals. This makes sure you don’t misunderstand the data you receive and puts you in the best place to prepare to use that information.


Q: What data do you need to prove ROI to senior leadership?

Nan: Matching sales funnel to customer. That’s the kind of data you want to get to. At the end of the day you have to show them something that says, “When we engage it benefits us financially.”

Ethan: Those who are engaging are higher value customers than non-social customers.

Jon: It really starts with your goals. If you can’t enumerate your goals, you won’t get buy-in. Once you have your goals, you have to gather data to support your argument. One of the hardest sells of social media is that it’s not at the bottom of the funnel, but if people are not aware of your brand they can’t purchase it. So you need to be at the top of the funnel too.

Q: What tools do you use for competitive intelligence?

Jon: Unmetric, Followerwonk, Sysomos, Peak Analytics. You need an ongoing reporting time and system.

Q: What advice can you provide on developing KPIs?

Nan: It depends on the stakeholder. Your boss has their KPIs, and it all has to be translated.

Jon: Let’s say you’re in customer service: how long does it take you to reply to a question or comment? When you understand what your goals are, it’s easier to come up with KPIs.

Ethan: Leads generated is a KPI that gets you all the way through the funnel. It’s the closest to bridging the gap.

Nan: Getting an email subscriber is an easy one to gather, and that’s a lead. Why would they sign up if they weren’t interested in buying?

Q: What about frequency – how often should you report?

Jon: At minimum, you should report weekly and answer five things: 1)What are my goals, 2) what’s the budget, 3) how am I doing, 4) why and 5) what am I going to do about it? If on a weekly basis you can answer those five questions, you’re going to be pushing your social media campaign forward.


Courtney Seiter

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.