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29/03/2012 by

Social Media ROI? Yes, With Google Analytics!

The search for the “Holy Grail” of social media, calculation of the ROI of social medial, may be over soon. Or it seems so as Google announced that its analytics update will connect social marketing. Measuring the value of social media has been a challenge for marketers, some claim that social media ROI calculation can’t be provided, is too difficult to calculate as there are too many inputs and variables or it’s just an obsession with figures.

Social Media ROI? Yes, With Google Analytics!

I agree that it’s not easy to understand exactly what might be the inputs in an environment where activity occurs both on and off your website. Which new features will be implemented in Google Analytics that will help marketers with ROI of social media?

There already several approaches to social media ROI calculations, I wrote about one recently in Social Media ROI: Myths, Truths, Measurement. And for each marketer claiming that social media ROI is important, there is at least one saying the opposite.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? That’s up to you to decide. Nevertheless I agree that it’s not like taking candy from a baby and sometimes maybe nearly impossible.
But many web sites uses Google Analytics, right?

ROISo here comes Social reports within Google Analytics, can be said it’s a reports bridge the gap between social media and the business metrics that allows to better measure and understand the full value of various social channels. The official reason? Google wanted to help with the following:

  • identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions,
  • understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social KPIs,
  • make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs.

The Social reports will allow marketers to analyze all of this information in one place and see a more complete picture of social impact than often used today.

“Many social measurement tools focus on social listening by monitoring keywords and buzz. While they’re helpful in many cases, these tools don’t connect the dots to show how investments in different social channels ultimately lead to sales or business objectives,” said Phil Mui, Google Analytics group product manager, explaining how the new tool is designed to go beyond listening.

“Our goal with the new reports is to tie social activities and referrals to measurable, meaningful economic value so businesses can more effectively evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value,” Mui said.

Social Media ROI

How does it work than? Companies using the new social reports can set up goals in their analytics account, whether it’s making a purchase, user registration, or just having someone click on the contact page. In the analytics you’ll find out not just how many visits are coming in from specific social network, but also how many of those social visits made conversion to the specified goal(s).

Mui says the reports also examine the impact that social networks have on a company’s “upper funnel” — in other words, the harder-to-measure cases where they don’t lead directly to a conversion, but may contribute indirectly.

Google can then assign a monetary value to both “last interaction” and “assisted” conversions which in turn helps companies decide whether the money they might be putting into a social marketing campaign is actually paying off.
And also determine which of the many social network sites out there is worth the time and money. Google claims that the new social reports will be available out over the next few weeks and users will find them the Standard Reporting Tab.

I think it’s a great tool that will provide as many insights and knowledge as much input is provided. On the contrary it’s only a tool and I would not blindly rely on single metrics from one provider. Moreover, it’s Google again…you know.

What do you think about this approach of measuring social ROI with Google Analytics? Is it worth trying or will you calculate ROI as you used to?



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