Why don’t businesses measure ROI on social media?
October 2, 2009
Babson Executive Education and Mzinga have published the results of a survey into businesses use of social media. The report shows that while many businesses are spending both money and resources on social media the number of people measuring ROI is low.
The graph below shows that 40% of respondents spend budget on social media and 57% expend resources on it.
So you’d think that they’d be measuring its effectiveness. Wouldn’t you? The pie chart below shows the percentage of respondents who said yes/no to the question ‘Do you currently measure ROI for your social media program?’. Only 16% said yes…
That’s low! It seems to me that there’s a real lack of understanding of online measurement and when it comes to social media that gets even more apparent. Social media measurement requires an understanding of more than just web analytics. You need to grok user behavior, interaction and engagement while also living brand equity, sentiment and what people are saying about you on all mediums. You need to understand the online/offline journey your audience is taking when it interacts with your brand, as an online social campaign could manifest itself as increased (or decreased) offline engagement. It’s a tough mix and there’s no one way to measure all of that right now. The best advice I could offer to businesses who trial social campaigns would be to distill it down to the things that are measurable (there’s always something even if only referrals and changes in rates of sales) and at the same time monitor sentiment like a hawk while listening to your audience (they will tell you a lot about how well you’re doing).
It’s getting better, there are many sentiment analysis tools out there now and you can even create your own dashboards with RSS and something like Netvibes. At the same time smart folk like @willmcinnes and the Measurement Camp crowd are trying to come up with answers to the social media measurement question and there’s a lot of information available on the subject.
So, in my opinion, measuring nothing is inexcusable, measuring or monitoring something is just fine if you’re dabbling in social but if you’re spending a lot of budget and manpower on your social exploits you either need to learn to measure it or find someone who can help you do that.