Social Media: Right Channel, Wrong Metrics.

The good news is in: Everyone is finally doing IT.


Social media, of course.

From the CEO who publishes thought leadership articles to the the marketing team creating content for multiple platforms to staff who become brand ambassadors on their personal pages. The value of using social media cannot be underestimated.

Social media spending is also at an all time high. With companies like Vitabiotics building a community of over 12, 000 on Twitter and Facebook, which resulted in over 90% completed product trials, it is impossible to waive it’s efficiency. This is one example of harnessing the power of social media to drive engagement and traffic.

But are those the important metrics?

A recent study by Adobe shows that 80% of marketing professionals can’t measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. They are effectively throwing resources at it and hoping something will stick. But how do they quantify what sticks?

Problems With Measuring

Measuring social media’s impact CAN be hard, especially if you are seduced by blanket vanity metrics. Facebook Likes, retweets, number of twitter followers, page views, registered users etc. are common metrics bragged about by marketers, but do these really matter? What is a Facebook Like really worth when you sell in the B2B space? These metrics only make you feel like you are succeeding; they rarely translate to revenue.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t track these as it is vital to know which channels are working. But, remember they do not DIRECTLY correlate to growing your business. You can only use them, when they are combined with more bankable metrics like traffic to websites from social channels, new leads & subscribers and purchases.

By downplaying the perceived importance of these metrics, little wonder in a recent Gigaom survey, over half of the participants stated that, “It’s difficult to prove ROI for social media marketing.” With social media over a decade old, why isn’t there a solution for measuring ROI?

The challenge isn’t so much measuring our efforts, Even as there are many tools available for measuring, marketers still struggle to determine which metrics to base the value of social media on. It’s more about knowing what to measure and how to use the data once it has been acquired.

Research by Search and More Ltd., found the following are the underlying reasons that stand in the way of accurately measuring social media marketing ROI:

A lack of standard metrics.

Does a retweet equal a share? Or is it closer to a Facebook Like? As many different platforms have their ‘currencies’, it becomes difficult to accurately compare impact across networks. To truly measure return, we need to be able to compare similar metrics.

Social Fragmentation.

Your customers are everywhere. Literally. More and more people have multiple social media accounts. Without the right tools, trying to track them across each one can get tedious. With over 200 registered platforms, keeping track of them across the big 5 is already an issue. This situation is a double edged sword. On one hand, to keep track of prospects, you have to follow them across each network. But how do you accurately measure success across multiple channels?

Cross-Channel Reporting.

The issue of accessing, collating and standardising data, across social networks also prevents marketers from accurately and consistently reporting their results. This lack of standardisation ranks as the top challenge for social media marketers. In a common scenario, social marketers have to show comparison with other platforms, EVEN if they have no presence on it. This is done simply to satisfy managers who insist on seeing ‘results’. Needless to say, this leads to data that is totally off base.


Like all inbound marketing, judging the success of your social media strategy takes time. It’s not an overnight win. This puts off executives who want results ASAP. They need to be informed that investment in social media marketing offers ROI, but only in the mid- to long-term. Marketers also complain about the time it takes to collate data, but how do you measure a campaign if you don’t give it time to run it’s course?

As marketers, we’re on a mission to track and measure our efforts and their success, so we tend to collect a lot of data. From purchase history and demographics to psychographic data and everything in between; this abundance of data has opened up a complicated web of options. Most times, this data we do not need.

We need to stop generating and analysing metrics that can’t be translated into useful insights or used to make strategic decisions. Join us next week for the 5 metrics that you need to master and how you can track them easily. Search and More create trackable, easy to implement campaigns that increase your bottom line. Contact them today for a social media audit.

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