Regardless of how great the latest marketing tech stack gets, there always seems to be room for improvement in attribution.
We’d know exactly how someone went from promoting your brand to being a happy customer in a perfect world. But it is not that simple. You know this by now after realizing that tracking ROI from social media can be very difficult.
Can you confidently say you know your social ROI?
If you said no, then the majority of marketers are trying to find out (including us!). Here’s what we’re doing to track social media ROI and * try * to get the right association.
# 1: Click the website by source
Let’s start with the basics of website visitors. When someone clicks on your website, they’ve been looking at your brand. You have shown a clear interest in what you are doing and we can now move you from the awareness phase of the customer value journey to the engagement phase.
What we really want to do is keep subscribing to them and then converting.
By tracking your website visitors by source, you can see how many people are engaging with your brand from certain social sources. Find out if your social content is turning your target audience into website visitors (who you can target again later). At DigitalMarketer we have social sources like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Website source clicks help us determine which social channels are giving us the highest clicks and assume that we will be able to get the most conversions from that social channel. Now we can create more content for those specific social channels that will drive website traffic and get the desired ROI from our time and investment.
# 2: Email opt-ins by source
Website traffic is the first step, but we all know these email opt-ins are where the magic happens. We’re big email marketers and we can attribute the majority of our sales directly to email. But again – the problem of attribution arises.
What if an email subscriber is originally from social? We have to do the social justice.
This is where source email opt-ins come in. Using this metric, we can find out how many email subscribers we are getting from our social audience. For example, let’s say 2% of our email subscribers convert to our flagship offer. If we are able to get 100 email subscribers per week through a social channel, we can attribute about 2 of those sales to social networks.
Based on our average order value and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), we can find out what our ROI is for social networks. If our flagship offering is $ 100 per month and our LTV is about $ 2,000, we know our social ROI is $ 200 per week and about $ 2,000 in revenue.
In Google Analytics, set up custom event tracking on each form to see where the subscriber is from.
# 3: Sales by Source
Now it’s time to get into direct social sales, which means things are going to be tough. Since we still can’t confidently attribute sales to specific touchpoints, Source Sales only gives us an idea of how many conversions are from social networks.
We say “just got an idea” because even though someone bought from social media, that doesn’t mean social media should get all of the credit. This customer may have found us on social networks, read 4 of our blog posts, came back to our social page 3 days later, saw our listing again and decided to buy it. In this example, social media definitely played a role in the conversion, but so did our blog posts and our homepage (because of the Zero Moment of Truth).
We will give social appreciation to the sales, but we cannot be naive to believe that in each and every case this has taken all the weight.
There are 4 different events to choose from in Sales by Source, 2 of which are specific to clicks (which you are looking for in this metric):
You select “Cross-Channel Last Click” so that Google Analytics assigns the conversion to the last click. This means that if someone from your Instagram bio clicks on our landing page and buys, Instagram will get the credit.
With Sales by Source, you can see how much of your audience is drawing your attention to your offers. This is the time to look for patterns in the data. If you find that your social audience is buying $ 20 worth of entry points but not $ 900 flagship offerings, use that data in your content strategy. Selling $ 100 20 entry point offers gives you a better ROI than selling $ 1 900 flagship offer. Ahh, the magic of data.
# 4: use linear and temporal decay attributions
Since Sales by Source can’t tell you the real story about why someone bought (and act like it was a much straighter line of trajectory than it really was), you’ll want to use linear and time decay write-ups as well.
To be clear, you want to use both metrics. Even if Sales by Source is not perfect, it is still very useful and helps you figure out which products to promote on your social networks. Linear and Time Decay show you how your social networks are transforming on average.
Linear assignments give the same credit to each visit to the lookback window. Time Decay gives more credit to the newer visits to a lookback window and less credit to older visits. This will give you an idea of where people were prior to purchasing. We recommend setting up these mappings for all of your digital channels, not just social ones. With this data, you can see which of your social channels are involved in conversions the most.
For example, you can find that social networks do not have the highest conversions, but they do have the highest linear and temporal decay. This shows us that while our social ROI may not look great, our audiences are turning out very well into social networking customers.
With these metrics, you want to find out what the real story is. By comparing these mappings to Sales by Source, you can narrow down what is actually going on behind the scenes and leading to sales.
# 5: Give Social a Specific Discount
So far, all ways to track your ROI on social media have been associated with extensive metrics and an understanding of Google Analytics. But we understand. Sometimes you’re just a one-person team trying to figure out how to get more sales. In other cases, your team is so busy that you may not be able to set up these mappings right now – but you need to figure out your social ROI.
This is what these next two strategies are for.
The first strategy is to give your social audience a certain discount. You can also give your various channels your own discount (INSTAGRAM10, TWITTER10, FACEBOOK10, YOUTUBE10). Each of these discount codes are for 10% off, but you can see where this customer came from without a steep Google Analytics learning curve.
Your goal will be to see how many viewers turn into customers. Find out what your conversion rate is based on your engagement and followers. For example, if you have 10,000 social followers and make 100 sales, you know that your conversion rate is 1% of your followers. If you typically get 500 likes, comments, and saves on your post, you know that your conversion rate is 5% of your engagement rate.
These numbers will help you build a predictable sales system. We talk about that a lot in the laboratory. Predictable Selling Systems (PSS) take you from the “I hope I make money this year” mentality to the “I know how much money I will make this year” mentality.
When you know how much to expect from your social networks, you’ll know how much you can afford to invest in them before you switch to full Google Analytics mode.
# 6: Create special landing pages just for social purposes
Another way to avoid using Google Analytics (for now) is to create special landing pages just for your social channels. You can use one landing page for all of your social networks, or you can create a different page for each social channel.
Each of these pages can be identical or contain a copy of the channel the user came from. What we’re looking for is how many people are converting from your social network or per channel. Since this page is dedicated to your social audience, your conversions can be attributed to your Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other followers.
Let’s say you have a social audience of 10,000 people and 1% convert every quarter. Their offering is $ 500, so you make $ 50,000 quarterly on social media. Your social team will cost you $ 100,000 per year. With these numbers, you now know that you are investing $ 100,000 in social networking and making $ 100,000 in profit (after subtracting your investment from your annual profit).
You now know it’s worth your time and what your cap is if social media isn’t worth your time or investment.
I’m still waiting for the marketing tech stack to solve all the attribution problems, but the reality is that this is going to be really difficult to pull off. This is where these 6 ways to track social ROI come into play. At DigitalMarketer, we always need to make sure that our social investments are paying off and that the answer is in the data. We keep it close to make sure we get ROI and find room for improvement.
With this information, we can see what our social star channels are and double our strategy there.
Let this data flow so you can optimize your social strategy.