Social media metrics and ROI: measuring efficiency and conversion of social media, online video and mobile is a challenge


The fast evolutions in the digital landscape (social media, mobile, online video, etc.) give a lot of marketers a hard time adjusting their marketing mix in such a way that they create more value for their company and for their customers, prospects, and all other people in the ecosystem around their business.

This often has to do with a strong focus on the channels and the technologies, a lack of clearly calculated examples, models, and user cases, and the rising pressure to account for everything using the almighty ROI. But I think that above all, it has to do with the change in mentality, and the failure of existing communication models in a world where people define a brand.

Adopting the media and channels, that are used by people nowadays in the marketing mix is therefore taking very long.

A survey from Omniture points out that a mere 14% of the questioned marketers nowadays use mobile, social media, as well as online video in their marketing mix (so, all three together).

By the way, I find it striking that Omniture calls these media and channels “emerging channels”. For companies and marketers, they clearly are so too.

Yet the truth is that they aren’t “emerging media or channels”. Social media are a reality just like mobile, etc. Social media have been around for years, and the mobile Web certainly isn’t new. They simply evolve. If we still call them “emerging” these days we just haven’t been paying attention.

However, let me get back to Omniture’s survey. It also points out that 55% of the respondents don’t know how to effectively measure the marketing ROI of social media, mobile, online video, etc. And it is this marketing ROI that happens to be a very current theme.

Of course, Omniture is a company that allows marketers to measure their efforts online, therefore the results are mostly good news for Omniture itself, but they’re none the less interesting.

80% of the respondents find measuring the ROI of online marketing activities important, but only 31% can actually effectively measure it. 86% find the conversion rate of online marketing important, but 25% are NOT able to measure it.

In regards to adopting the three “channels”, some numbers:

Social media marketing

69.1% of the respondents make use of social media in their marketing efforts, but 41% of them do not have a “mechanism” to measure the conversion.


77.3% of the participants of the study don’t use mobile channels and forms of communication. Out of those who do use them (22.7%), 73% are able to measure if website visitors are visiting from a mobile device (which really is the most easy thing to measure), but only 30% are able to measure the conversion of their mobile devices.

Online video

42.9% of the respondents use online video in their marketing efforts. Out of those, 59% find post-video-conversions to be one of the most important metrics. Yet, 70% are not able to measure it.

What strikes me is the fact that the press release about the survey is mainly focused on conversion and immediately measurable metrics, with little or no attention being given to a holistic and cross-channel view on the ROI of the individual channels, but also on all activities combined.

Apparently, ROI is regarded in the same way as conversion and branding and engagement have been forgotten. But as I just mentioned, I looked at the press release and the executive summary, so maybe I’m jumping to conclusions.

I’ll check the report asap or you can check it out yourself if you participate at the ongoing survey where obviously you have to answer all kinds of questions about your use of web analytics, including your main challenges in this area (I had none but Omniture insists so I picked one to be able to finish the survey…).

J-P De Clerck is an interactive marketing expert, well-known blogger and owner of conversionation. You can connect with him via Twitter or on Facebook.

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