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A beginner’s guide to measuring Facebook ROI

It’s the question that strikes fear into marketing departments worldwide. A question that seems to raise more questions and fears than any other marketing channel does: “How the heck do we ensure that all the time and money we’re spending on promoting our business via Facebook is providing a good return?”

Businesses often approach us with this very question. They want to be on Facebook, but they’re unsure how to make it something more than status updates and image sharing. Of course, the answer differs from business to business, but there are a few definitive factors that should be considered when looking for ROI.

So here are a few tips to help you get started in understanding a little more about how Facebook can provide you ROI.

Facebook ads

Facebook Ads are probably the most robust element of Facebook advertising in terms of reporting and measurement. You are able to measure every cent you spend, the audience it could reach and the audience it does reach.

The Facebook Ad Manager will provide you all the information you need to find out how your ad spend is working for your campaign as far as clicks go, but it’s the CTA that will dictate how much further you are able to track the conversion. The Facebook Ad manager will track clicks and Likes that your page receives, but if your CTA takes the user to an external landing page, the metrics will need to be managed via your analytics platform.

A great little app that could help you understand your Facebook spend ROI better is BlogSpots free Facebook Analytics app. It’s kind of like Facebook’s native analytics if it had a few red bulls.

Engagement

Likes, comments, links and shares are the most obvious metric when looking at Facebook measurement. These metrics indicate an interaction between a user and a business, which can be perceived as some sort of return. But it’s what you do with these interactions that will be most beneficial.

A million page likes is great, but if a user likes your page and never interacts (or converts), was it worth the effort to get their like? Facebook engagement is one part of the ‘sale’ process and should be measured as a first step of a bigger conversion plan.

Your business model will of course dictate what a ‘conversion’ looks like, but Facebook engagement is the top of your funnel. It’s the next task of a marketer to ensure you move them further into the funnel from the engagement.

Traffic to your website

Perhaps your Facebook ads point to your website. Or maybe your page is all about promoting blog content to the world. Either way, if a CTA via your page points to your website, then the conversion can then be tracked on your end.

Web analytics suites like Google Analytics or Omniture have great social integration now that tie directly into your conversion funnel. This will let you know exactly how many conversions or how much revenue each click from Facebook is responsible for.

Social Sentiment

Social sentiment is all about how your brand or content is perceived all over the social media environment. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn – they all provide valuable insight into what people are saying about you (or your business). This information can then be used to guide business and marketing strategy. Social measurement suites such as Radian6 and SocialMention will give some good insights into whether your brand is perceived as negative, positive or neutral.

These suites do have difficulty detecting things such as sarcasm though so when measuring social sentiment, it should be measured it should be used in conjunction with a switched on community manager who can identify these differences manually when required.
Think of social sentiment via Facebook as real-time market research.

Conversion based Facebook apps & pages

Little known fact: There is a lot more to Facebook apps than selling sheep via Farmville or challenging your Facebook friends at Pop song questions. They can be turned into conversion generating machines.

Savvy businesses are not only utilising Facebook as a place to promote content but to reduce business costs – via services like on-page support note apps (reducing call center requests). Form collection apps that are built for competitions can also be used to gain followers and leads. Companies like Dell Computers, Air Asia and JetStar are doing some pretty cool things with Facebook pages and apps that are well worth a look.

Figuring out ROI is a tricky thing with this social media stuff but it’s not impossible. Facebook can be a marketers best buddy if you think of it as one more place to bring customers into your conversion funnel.  The most important aspect to consider is if it is suited to your demographic and audience. Don’t ‘do Facebook’ just because you can. Figure out what you are hoping to achieve and ensure the platform can provide that benefit. If not, then your efforts and ROI are doomed from the start.

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