The Hidden ROI of Social Media Marketing

Photo credit: Usraek on Flickr.As a former survey researcher, I understand the importance of measuring the success of your marketing efforts.

If you don’t have a way to measure how well any given marketing campaign is doing, how do you know whether or not it’s worth the time and effort? And, maybe more important, how are you going to justify its existence to senior management?

Measuring the success of your marketing efforts is important.

This is true whether we are talking about marketing campaigns that are delivered via traditional marketing channels or those that take advantage of the new media marketing channels that have risen as a result of the World Wide Web.

Given the fact that social media marketing is still fairly new, it may receive more scrutiny from senior management than your more traditional marketing efforts.

Different Ways to Measure ROI of Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Josh Bernoff, senior vice president of idea development at Forrester Research, wrote an interesting article on the ROI of social media marketing campaigns in the February 28, 2011 edition of the American Marketing Association’s Marketing News, titled “A Balanced Perspective on Social ROI.”

In the article, Bernoff points to the fact that there are many different ways to measure the success of your social media marketing efforts beyond the more obvious financial measures.

“For example, Secret deodorant wanted more women to hear about the benefits of its product,” writes Bernoff. “Instead of just advertising, Procter & Gamble and its agency, imc2, created a Facebook page about Lindsey Van, a female ski jumper who was unable to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics because there is no women’s ski jumping category. By encouraging women to sign a petition on Lindsey’s behalf—and to persuade their friends to do the same—P&G attracted over 400,000 fans to the page.”

He goes on to mention that after the campaign, online surveys of Facebook users and Nielsen Brand Lift surveys revealed that there was an 8% increase in women who thought Secret had a better product than its competitors, and there was an 11% increase in purchase intent.

He also mentions that social media can save a brand a lot of money with risk-avoidance measures. That is, brands can use social media to respond to negative comments from customers that are posted online. It can also be used to debunk the inevitable urban legends that are spread via the various social media platforms.

Bernoff also points out that your brand’s social media efforts can have a positive effect on where your brand’s website appears in a search engine results page, increasing the likelihood that your brand will be found when your customers do a search on Google or any of the other search engines.

Furthermore, he mentions that financial returns aren’t limited to increases in sales. Your brand’s social media marketing efforts can also help decrease expenses, which will have a positive effect on your brand’s bottom line.

If you get a chance, read Josh Bernoff’s article; it has some very interesting insights.


In the current economy, brands need to do everything that they can to get consumers to purchase their products and services rather than choose those of their competitors.

As many brands know, social media marketing is becoming a more important, if not necessary, ingredient in the overall success of a brand.

However, as with all of your marketing efforts, the success of a social media marketing campaign needs to be measured in order to justify its value to senior management.

As Josh Bernoff’s article points out, there are many ways to measure the success of a social media marketing campaign beyond the more obvious short-term increases in sales.

This is something to consider when evaluating where to spend next year’s marketing budget.

Photo credit: Usraek on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

I am a marketing analyst and strategist. I earned my master's degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2023. I also hold a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research, and I completed the Mobile Marketing Professional Certificate Program from Auburn University in 2015.