Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Measuring Marketing ROI with Social Media Vanity Metrics and Google Analytics

Measuring Social Media Marketing (SMM) efforts is the most difficult task in Digital Marketing. What the vanity metrics indicate is highly debatable and therefore, the ROI derived from social media is also a point of contention. Often times social media efforts are on the verge of getting culled out completely from the organization's marketing budgets!

To understand the ROI from social media it is important to identify goal-based KPIs and social media metrics before you launch your campaigns. For doing this, it is important that as a digital marketer, you should understand the analytics of social media metrics.

Several experts have provided consolidated interpretations of the vanity metrics. Check two articles here, here, and here.

The problem of nailing down the ROI from social media efforts can be done if you can generate a few reports along with your data from Google Analytics. I have built three cases here to explain how to understand and measure marketing ROI with social media vanity metrics and Google Analytics.

Goal: Position yourself as a “Thought Leader” in the industry
Content type: Whitepapers (ungated asset)
Content purpose: Provide industry trends or solutions point-of-view or provide information that will objectively explore alternative ways to solve a problem, and that the reader understands conclusively that your organization has the knowledge, expertise, and tools required to solve the problem.
Content format: Downloadable document
Channel: Twitter
Twitter Metrics: Number of Favourites/Likes
GA Metrics: % of new sessions from Social, Assisted Conversions Value, Assisted/Last click or Direct conversions ratio value greater than 1

Combined Analytics Explained: Users “Like” or “fav” a tweet for various reasons and these reasons work towards the way a “Thought Leader” would be perceived. In a study published by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence the main reasons highlighted for why people “fav” a tweet are:
  1. Bookmarking for later reference
  2. Silent Approval (when the user agrees with the tweet creator’s opinion)
  3. Tweet is informational
  4. Like because the user can relate to the tweet
  5. Tweet creator is a special person
  6. Tweet resonates at the emotional level

All these reasons conjure up to one thing – a high number of tweet favourites say that the tweet creator is perceived as a thought leader.

So, a number of tweet favourites, with increasing percentage of new sessions from social media, and increasing value in the Assisted Conversion Value will justify that social media has helped you achieve your goal of positioning yourself as a Thought Leader.

Another metric to note is about attribution modeling - Assisted/Last click or Direct Conversions (In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition>Social>Conversions>Click on Assisted vs. Last Interaction Analysis just below the Explorer tab). This ratio should be greater than 1 because if your social media has really built the impact, then it’s role as an assisted conversion channel should be higher.

After putting the above explanations in your reports, use the simple formula for the ROI:

ROI = (Total Conversion Value generated from Social - Total Amount spent on campaigns/Total Amount spent on campaigns

Goal: Brand Awareness
Content type: Story Telling with rich media
Content purpose: Emotive audience engagement & user experience so that the prospective buyers can relate to the benefits of the product or service
Content format: Video & Interactive Research Report
Channel: LinkedIn, Twitter & Google Adwords
LinkedIn Metrics: Engagement Rate
GA Metrics: Overall % of new users, % of new users through social media, % of new sessions from direct channel, goal conversion rate from social channels & AdWords, and Assisted/Last click or Direct Conversions ratio.

Combined analytics explained: Since our goal is to create brand awareness, it makes great sense to capture how “engaged” your prospects were with the content that you shared, and did we add new users to our overall bucket of visitors. This means that you have to strive for ER that is higher than the industry average, and for your selected time-period, the % of new users, % of new users through social media, % of new sessions from direct channel should show steady increase.

Secondly, we need to understand that if we have built awareness for our product/service, then the social conversions should contribute equally in Assisted and Last click capacity. Hence, the “Assisted/Last click or Direct Conversions ratio” should be close to 1.

You can revisit the metrics in Google Analytics 1 month after the campaign has stopped. If your “Brand Awareness” campaign has been impactful, then you should see an increase in “% of Returning Visitors”, “Assisted/Last click or Direct Conversions ratio” value > 1, and increase in % of new sessions from direct channel.

Also, use the following formula:

ROI = (Total Conversion Value generated from Social - Total Amount spent on campaigns) /Total Amount spent on campaigns

Your Turn! Build your explanation for Case 3:

Goal: Lead Generation
Content type: Landing Page/Microsite
Content purpose: Capture contact details
Content format: Microsite with strong CTA/eBook (gated asset)/free 30-day Trail
Channels: Twitter & LinkedIn
Twitter Metrics: Number of Link Clicks
LinkedIn Metrics: CTR
GA Metrics: Number of Last Click Conversions, Last Click Conversion Value & Assisted/Last click or Direct Conversions ratio should be 0.

While the social media metrics capture a lot of qualitative aspects of its user behaviour, and because of which you may find social media as highly elusive, but if you combine it with Google Analytics, you can justify your social media ROI as well.

Are there any other ways of measuring marketing ROI with social media vanity metrics and Google Analytics together? Share your thoughts.

Good day and Happy New Year!