13 February – New ROI metrics for social media?

Writing about the ROI of social media and comparing that with email and other direct lead gen techniques… a nice challenge!!! Having put together channel lead gen campaigns for years, I know the downfalls of the spray and pray approach, but somehow I just can’t bring myself to trash it quite so readily.  I’ve read many a blog about comparing the two, but the thing is you’re not comparing apples for apples.


I’ve been keeping an eye on the stats of campaigns that come across my desk.  Emails are getting an open rate of around 20% (sometimes a lot lower!), with click through rates of about 2-3%.  Not bad.  Then I see results from socialondemand, our online tool that enables vendors to syndicate their rich content through their channel partners’ social networks.  Posts are achieving click through or download rates of nearly 8% (based on the number of the partners’ followers).  Maybe time to hit the like button.


It’s not just the post click results that are impressive.  It’s the reach as well.  8% of thousands of current followers is much more attractive to a marketer like me than 2% of a few thousand on an ageing email list, purchased a few years ago.


We recently did a tally of the potential audience for socialondemand for one of our clients.  We took 22 of their top partners, and added up how many followers they had.  Of the 22, only four had no social media presence at all, and the other 18 had over 4.5k followers / connections between them.  They are looking to recruit about 100 socially active partners initially, which will give them access to around 25k end-user followers within one click. And that’s a conservative estimate, as we didn’t include followers of individual staff within the partner, just their corporate accounts.


So there are two things that are warming my social cockles compared to direct marketing techniques… reach and currency of contact information.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still worth combining the two, but social media is definitely on my Christmas card list.