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Unraveling the Mystery of Social Media ROI


Social media marketing is sometimes criticized for having questionable return on investment, but much of the skepticism arises from the fact that these platforms are so new. The Internet is the most …

Social media marketing is sometimes criticized for having questionable return on investment, but much of the skepticism arises from the fact that these platforms are so new. The Internet is the most measurable medium ever invented, which means that the online actions that lead people toward a desired goal can be tracked and refined.

The key is to start with the object and work backwards to define metrics and tools to measure it. A growing number of corporations are institutions are now doing exactly that. They are measuring not only transactions and leads, but also less tangible results like:

Better decision-making
Cost avoidance
Increases in brand equity
Improvements in customer loyalty
Crisis containment

This presentation describes a disciplined approach to social media measurement and offers case studies of b-to-b and b-to-c organizations that are applying metrics to deliver reliable ROI.

Published in Business , Technology
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  • Great slide capture of some of the key players so far


  • 1. Unraveling the Mysteryof Social Media ROI
    Paul Gillin
    Author, The New Influencers
    Secrets of Social Media Marketing
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5. ROI
  • 6. Simple Equation
    ROI =
  • 7. Types Of Financial Impact
    Coupon redemptions
  • 8. Types Of Non-Financial Impact
    Customer complaints
    Website Visitors
    Positive press
    YouTube views
    Coupons distributed
    Visitors to a brick & mortar store
    Positive WOM
    Delivered emails
    Negative press
    Negative WOM
    Employment applications
    Blog comments
    FaceBook friends
    Social mention
    Twitter followers
  • 9. Bounty of Choice
  • 10.
  • 11. 7 Steps to Social Media ROI
    Define the “R” – What are expected results?
    Define the “I” -- What’s the investment?
    Understand audiences and what motivates them
    Choose metrics
    Choose benchmarks
    Pick a tool and undertake research
    Analyze results, glean insight, take action, measure again
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 12. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
    Cost savings
    Cost per message communicated
    Cost per new lead/customer acquired
    Increase in employee engagement/morale
    Lower turnover/recruitment costs
    Ratio of posts to comments
    % of repeat visitors
    % of 5+ min visitors
    % of registrations
    Improvement in relationship /reputation scores with customers and communities (Loyalty/Retention)
    Thought leadership:
    Share of quotes
    Share of opportunities
    Message penetration
    Positioning on key issues
    Improvement in favorable/unfavorable ratio
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 13. Measurement Options
    Traffic: unique visitors vs. page views
    Technorati rankings
    RSS subscriptions
    Google linkto: and allinanchor:
    Delicious and Technorati tags
    Trackbacks, Xinu, Compete, Alexa scores
    And more…
  • Set Up to Measure
    Define metrics; for social media marketing, the two key ones are influence and engagement
    Set up campaigns and event tracking for social media
    Choose analytics software that can track specific events
    Track fans, followers, etc. over time to measure growth in interest
    Identify where visitors come from and how they interact. Feed back into marketing
    Determine which social media channels are most effective
    Research plug-ins and tools like, xinureturns, PostRank, and SocialToo for profile data
    Aggregate analytics in one place
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 29. Sample Engagement Metrics
    % increase or decrease in unique visits
    In the past  month, what % of sessions were >5 page views
    % of sessions >5 minutes in duration
    % of visitors that return for more than 5 sessions
    % of sessions that arrive at your site from a Google search/referral/link from your web site
    % of visitors that subscribe
    % of visitors that download content
    % of visitors that provide an email address
    Ratio of posts to comments
    Source: KD Paine & Partners,
    Eric Peterson
  • 30. Classifications of Discussion
    • Acknowledging receipt of information
    • 31. Advertising something
    • 32. Answering a question
    • 33. Asking a question
    • 34. Augmenting a previous post
    • 35. Calling for action
    • 36. Disclosing personal information
    • 37. Distributing media
    • 38. Expressing agreement
    • 39. Expressing criticism
    • 40. Expressing support
    • 41. Expressing surprise
    • 42. Giving a heads up
    • 43. Responding to criticism
    • 44. Giving a shout-out
    • 45. Making a joke
    • 46. Making a suggestion
    • 47. Making an observation
    • 48. Offering a greeting
    • 49. Offering an opinion
    • 50. Putting out a wanted ad
    • 51. Rallying support
    • 52. Recruiting people
    • 53. Showing dismay
    • 54. Soliciting comments
    • 55. Soliciting help
    • 56. Starting a poll
    • 57. Validating a position
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 58. Matching Goals & Metrics
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 59. Select Tools
    Source: KD Paine & Partners
  • 60. Blogs: The Low-Risk Option
    Cheap and easy to create and update
    Have distinct personal voice
    Can quickly build traffic through reciprocal links
    Excellent search engine performance
    Ability to control discussion
    Fast, inexpensive alternative to press releases
  • 61. Blogging for Business
  • 62. Advise and Inform
  • 63. Event Promotion
  • 64. Publish Everywhere
    44 million members
    32 million members
    300 million members
    1 billion daily views
    1 million daily visitors
    6 million daily visitors
    1.5 million daily visitors
    10 million members
    50 million members
  • 65. Many Uses for Twitter
  • 66. Engage Popular People
    1.7 million followers
    1.1 million followers
    1.2 million followers
  • 67. Needs Definition
    Peer Support
    Product lifecycle
    Viral Marketing
    Product Architecture
    Iterative Development
    Field Testing
    360° Of Value
  • 68. Facebook Fans
    Repurpose media
    Mailing List
  • 69. Create Activity Timelines
    Source: BrandBuilder
  • 70. Look at Sales Revenue
    Source: BrandBuilder
  • 71. Net New Customers
    Source: BrandBuilder
  • 72. Overlay All Timelines
    social data
    web data
    loyalty metrics
    Source: BrandBuilder
  • 73. Look for Patterns
    Uncertain Impact
    No Impact
    Source: BrandBuilder
  • 74. Case Study: Clickable Gurus
  • 75. Case Study: Intel Insiders
  • 76. Case Study: Indium
  • 77. Case Study: Dell
  • 78. Case Study: Catapult
  • 79. Case Study: Stanford University
  • 80. Case Study: Sutter Medical Center
  • 81. Thank you!
    Paul Gillin
    Twitter: pgillin
    Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter at
    Available on Amazon or from
    Available on Amazon or from