'Return On Investment' Isn't The Same As 'Great Metrics'

With so many metrics at our disposal, it's incredibly easy for a social media marketer to simply focus on metrics instead of return on investment. But few of us get paid for good stats alone. Our businesses want us to make them money. Go figure.

And yet, again and again we turn to stats that mean nothing when it comes to ROI. Most companies can only guess what a Like is worth or the value of a Pin. I even had a client a couple years ago have us take OUT any metrics that showed how we contributed to the company's bottom line. The client didn't want to be held accountable for any financials other than as a cost center.

Said client no longer works at said company.

That’s why I am so excited to moderate the panel “Is Social ROI An Oxymoron?” at the OMMA Social Data conference tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m. If you’re in Los Angeles, you can attend by signing up here. If in-person isn’t a possibility, view the live stream of the sessions all day here.



And, for you good people, here’s a sneak peak at some of the things we’ll be talking about -- not to mention some good questions to ask yourself:

Is Social Any Different From Other Marketing?

Social often exists in its own pantheon. It usually has its own team plugged into the matrix, like digital addicts monitoring every mention and reference of a brand. Do brands need to change who is working on social along with what is being worked on? Or, is social truly a different mindset that shouldn’t be judged like other marketing?

Comparing New School To Old School

For many people, social media is a lot like driving in a car with fogged windows: You can sort of see what you are doing, but if you hit any difficult situations, the chances of coming out unscathed are pretty slim. So, how do we make social ROI understandable to old-school marketers? Is there a key analogy? Can we compare it to other, more traditional marketing mediums in a meaningful way?

Know Thy Enemy

Sometimes the best advice is consulting on what not to do. The session panelists will talk about the stats or metrics they think do the most harm. Maybe the stat causes confusion. Maybe it distracts. Maybe it takes too much effort in exchange for the return. Basically, what stats aren’t worth the trouble and should be left off the quarterly update slides?

King Of The Mountain

We’ll draw on panelists’ breadth of experience to find out the best ways to judge return on investment across social. Of course it changes by vertical and business model, but what are some tried-and-true financial returns that always seem to rise to the top?

Comparative Quick Round

The best social media lives in harmony with other marketing – both online and offline. So, shouldn’t social media be able to contribute to the old standbys of ROI? Our panelists will talk about what social platforms are their favorites for:

  • Leads
  • Sales
  • Customer Retention
  • Operational Efficiencies
  • Impressions

Wish List

All the social platforms are becoming better at making data visible. But you can’t measure something if you can’t get to the source data. We’ll find out what one metric our panelists wish they could get directly from a social platform, but can’t currently.

What have me missed? What questions would you like asked? Feel free to post your questions in the comments below. We’ll do our best to work them in!

3 comments about "'Return On Investment' Isn't The Same As 'Great Metrics'".
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  1. Sara Rogers from Internet Marketing Inc, October 23, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.

    Great post, Bryan. I am looking forward to your panel tomorrow. I agree that "The best social media lives in harmony with other marketing – both online and offline" - I think this is a key point when considering the social ROI debate, as many traditional marketers do not understand the shift from offline to online and how they contribute and combine to create a cohesive marketing strategy. No singular strategy whether it be online or off will work for a marketer in this day and age and I think you hit some of the main reasons on the nose.

  2. Walter Sabo from SABO media, October 23, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.

    The reason so much time is wasted on metrics is 99% of the people in charge have never had to EAT based on what they SOLD that day.

    "The best social media lives in harmony with other marketing – both online and offline."

    WHY? Why can't it trash and burn other marketing efforts and blaze its own trail. The notion of harmonious campaigns is very Don Draper and he wound up a suicidal alcoholic. Let's stop this silliness. The goal is, and this is the technical term, "to sell stuff." Enough with the black shirts and bottled water, go out and sell stuff.

  3. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., October 23, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.

    Amen, Walter! Amen!

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