One of the primary reasons that businesses online were attracted to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies like Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click was because they offered ways to track marketing investments dollar for dollar.
As more and more users are being found to be on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, businesses are investing more and more dollars into targeting audiences there. As more money is being invested, more and more businesses are calling for the ability to track ROI as pertains to social media marketing (SMM) campaigns.
Investments in SMM is increasing.
eMarketer predicts that over 3 billion dollars will be invested into targeting users on social media sites in 2011. With this much money being spent, businesses want to know how effective their dollars are.
What Metrics do Businesses Care About?
Through tallying fans and followers and in analyzing buzz associated with profile pages, many companies are offering “softer” metrics techniques to provide some useful insights. In 2010, the variable most companies are interested in finding out regarding their social media campaigns was related to “site traffic.” This is not expected to change. Second on the list for 2011 is the variable related to “conversions.”
What Metrics should Businesses Care About?
The metrics that are important to your social media marketing are going to be unique to your business. It really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your social media networks. Are you looking for leads? Conversions? Exposure? Brand Awareness? Your specific objectives will determine what metrics are important for you to track.
How do Businesses Track Social Media Metrics?
As of right now, there are no hard systems in place to produce highly detailed metrics concerning returns on investments with social media marketing. This doesn’t mean that businesses aren’t going to invest in it. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t track metrics that are important to you. It just means that it may require a little effort to track the information that’s important to you. Despite the difficulty (not impossibility) in tracking, 57% of all businesses are projected to invest more dollars into social media marketing in 2010 according to a recent StrongMail survey.
While the field of metrics is growing in the world of social media marketing, the investments are continuing to rise also. As the metrics become more accurate and reliable, you can expect to see either dramatic increases or drops in SMM investments depending on how fruitful these innovative campaigns are proven to be.
As of right now, investing in social media marketing is still considered to be highly valuable. Millions of potential consumers are crawling the streets of Facebook and Twitter making it a hot spot for marketers around the world. The potential to create buzz for companies amongst thousands (even millions) of people exists—and as we see analytics grow in sophistication, the ability to make money through these popular sites may put a deeper dent in traditional marketing mediums.