Social Media ROI – The Business Challenge – Plenty Conversing, Not Enough Converting(tm)

Social Media ROI – The Business Challenge – Plenty Conversing, Not Enough Converting(tm)

A chat this morning went like this:

[12/21/12 9:43:54 AM] John McElhenney: got the shopping cart right, and tweeked the hell out of our adwords campaigns – only spending on terms and ads that convert
[12/21/12 9:43:58 AM] John McElhenney: that’s the key
[12/21/12 9:44:04 AM] John McElhenney: social sucks if it doesnt’ convert
[12/21/12 9:44:17 AM] John McElhenney: plenty of conversing, not much converting ™

It’s not as easy to track conversions from your social activities as Google Analytics and others would like you to think. Sam Decker says, “2013 is going to be the year of reckoning for social media.”

Now Social is mainstream. If it wasn’t for the growth of Twitter, Pinterest and 1B users on Facebook, Microsoft’s launch of their own social network should be signal enough! This all means the hype starts to settle. Some elements of the movement come under attack. And social just becomes a layer into our personal and corporate lives. I think 2013 will mark this transition.
-- Mass Relevance

What is hard about social media is actually tying the click to the sale. If someone comes from Facebook, what post did they click on, what ad did they click on, and did they go through to the shopping cart and buy something? That’s the trick. There are a lot of tools and systems and link builders and tracking options… BUT it’s not that easy.

Let’s look at a typical problem with social media.

A very successful Facebook campaign:

Big Facebook Growth Does Not Equal Sales

We grew our “reach.”

LIKES on Facebook don't mean sales in the real world
LIKES on Facebook don’t mean sales in the real world


We seemed to be successful in getting our message out. And people were visiting our blog.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 10.06.28 AM

And we got a lot of eyeballs to the blog and on to the site.


Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 10.05.58 AM

And then, the Thanksgiving Turkey was swallowed and we were back to business as usual. A couple hundred LIKES ahead, but same ol’ same ol’.

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 9.25.39 AM

According to the client the sales of the iPhone and iPad app doubled during that time. BUT… there was no exact way to learn where they entered the store from (what link) and which links actually converted to a SALE.

Better tools, more accurate metrics, and well-crafted tracking links may help. But the real tough part is tying all this data together into an illuminating story.  Analytics are fine, but ACTIONABLE ANALYTICS are KING.

To get social media to earn its way, we must be able to track each sale back to it’s initial connection (the first ad, link, or story that caused someone to click to learn more. From that FIRST CLICK on things should be mechanical and simple, but again, they are not. The Apple iTunes Store shares information very sparingly, even with the vendors selling the products. You cannot directly outreach to your new customers via iTunes. Only within the app, can you connect further with them.

So we are at a turning point according to Sam Decker. A year of accountability for social media is at hand. We all DO it, we all KNOW IT IS IMPORTANT, but we DON’T KNOW Exactly what it costs and what revenue we can count on for that expense.

In business ROI is king. The rally cry of ROI of Social Media will become more of a requirement, rather than a pro-marketing pitch.


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