ROI of Social Media: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it (1/4)

ROI of Social Media: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it (1/4)

ROI of Social Media Book

ROI of Social Media

After the launch of our book ROI of Social Media, ( or follow us on Twitter at #ROISM), my coauthors and I have been speaking around the world to a number of different audiences.  As marketing ROI experts, we often get the statement, “I can’t measure the ROI of this or that and now we want to measure social media!  Impossible!”

I respond with a simple statement.  “I can measure the ROI on everything – Every marketing activity that’s undertaken can be measured.  I can measure both the short and the long term and it’s effect on revenue, profit, brand and share!”  Most of the time I get a quizzical look.  “How can he do that?”  Read on for the answer.

As we talk about measuring the success of social media we need to first understand a number of concepts.  In this series I will talk about four of them.

Today I’ll be talking about why we hold social media to a higher measurement standard than traditional media.  Then in three subsequent blog posts I’ll talk about measuring across the entire media mix, direct (or Last Touch Attribution) versus indirect attribution when measuring the effects of social and traditional media and lastly, the entrepreneurial phase of social media.

  1. Holding social media to a higher standard – Many people that aren’t able to measure the ROI on social media also aren’t measuring the ROI on their other media.  If they’re not measuring ROMI (the Return on Marketing Investment), why are they holding social media to that standard?  Are they even measuring any element of their marketing mix?  My answer to these marketers and companies is to first start measuring something.  Whether it’s traditional or social it doesn’t really matter.  Just start measuring.  Get and work towards a culture of measurement and ROI and put it firmly into the heart of the entire marketing team.
Measuring the impact of Social Media

Measuring the impact of Social Media

I was just speaking with a friend of mine, the VP of Marketing for one of my largest accounts and she recalled her walk to implementing marketing ROI into their culture.  She came to one of my first ever marketing ROI workshops about 6 years ago and decided to take one of my admonitions to heart.  “If you aren’t measuring anything today, start measuring now.  In 12 months, you’ll have data and you’ll be able to start making significantly better decisions than you’re making now”.  She started doing that and now her company has one of the best-run marketing departments in their industry and is in the process of transferring that same measurement infrastructure to a recent acquisition.

The Point:  Measure.  Start now.  Measure the right things.

Stay tuned for my next three blog posts.  I hope you’ll find them interesting.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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Guy Powell

Author’s Bio:  Over the last 20 years Guy R. Powell, based in Atlanta and Singapore has been helping thousands of marketers across the globe prove and improve their marketing performance through training, analytics and organizational transformation.  His experience cuts across just about every industry, every media channel – including social – and every region – from Asia to North America.  You can reach him on Linked in or at  His other books include Marketing Calculator:  Measuring and managing your return on marketing investment ( and Return on Marketing Investment:  Demand more from your sales and marketing investments. (