Solving the Social Media ROI Mystery

When it comes to social media, the biggest question seems to be, “How do I accurately measure my return on investment?”

The answer, which seems to be shrouded in darkness, is not as obscure as you may think. I am going to give you one effortless option that you can do today.

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Use offers/coupons. 
This is the easiest/fastest way to track if your social media efforts are turning into sales. “Show this post and save 10% off your meal this weekend.” It’s as easy as that. Have your employees track which sales/offers are redeemed via social media posts and voilà! You’ll be able to know exactly how much money/revenue was driven into your store with that post. (And that doesn’t even account for any additional sales you may have received because of it.)


Ok, that’s the simplest way to prove a post’s success. But now, I’m going to get a little more technical. If you stop reading past this point, you’ll have a good option to test out. Just keep reading a little further, and I promise that I can prove to the CFOs of the world that we can track ROI through social media.

Identify the audience. This is where it all begins. You have to know who you’re targeting before spending the money or efforts trying to reach them. Use websites like Google Analytics that offer tools to find out how many people are looking at your website, who is visiting, how they got there, and what they are doing once they get there (for free!)

Track your links. Now that you know your starting point, it’s time to make your efforts measurable. Analytic-monitoring websites usually come with the capability to track individual links, along with entire pages. Whether you want to track internal site links (good for comparing two locations) or outbound site links (for example: to follow your Facebook page or blog), both help you to get inside the head of the consumer’s decision-making process. Use a url builder for each post to track the campaign name and source that users are entering your website on.

Understand consumer behavior. Your website’s social plug-ins allow page managers to see the actions that lead to a Facebook-like or a Twitter follow. To take it a step further, Facebook provides a tool for tracking the conversion rate of a specific Facebook advertisement. This happens by placing an offsite pixel into what is referred to as a “success page” – or in easier terms, what you want a user to do while browsing your site (like buying a product).

Identify popular actions. Those offsite pixels we talked about? They’re powerful beings. When you create and place your pixel, you can calibrate it to record a wide range of useful actions, like registrations, checkouts, page views, adding an item to a cart, and leads.

Conduct experiments. Now that you’ve set up your first offsite pixel, it’s time to put your ads to the test. Which ads attract the most registrations? Which ads end in sales? Run several experiments, and see which language and stylistic choices turn the most visitors into buyers.

Utilize reports. Once you understand your average consumer and your most successful ad campaigns, get ready to analyze and adjust. What works one week, might not work the next. You need to constantly evolve your strategy and track your successes and failures to spend your money more wisely and more profitably.


With websites like Google Analytics, we get a clearer picture of where our client’s marketing dollars are best used, what is performing best and what strategies are turning potential customers into paying customers.

You can prove the return on investment for social media. If you’ve struggled to get support from the CFO or other financial higher-ups, now you know how to start proving social media’s worth.

If you need a little help getting started and offsite pixels, analytics and ROI sound a little scary, send our Outreach & New Media Manager an email!



This was a post written by Anna Gonzalez. You can follow her on Google + here.