ROI From Social Media? Is that Possible?


By Sue Brady


ROI is a key performance indicator (KPI) that most marketers hold near and dear. Why? Because most brands use marketing to generate product/service sales. And typically, a marketer will spend fully in the most efficient resource before allocating funds to the next channel. I know what you’re thinking: My campaign wasn’t about sales, it was about ‘likes’ on Facebook. And to that I would ask: Why did you want likes? And you would say: To get sales! So there you go.

The standard definition of Return on Investment, or ROI, is ‘dollars made’ minus cost divided by cost:


$$s generated – investment (to generate those $$s)

Basically, what did you get for what you spent, and was it worth it?

For social media this is admittedly a difficult task. It’s hard to track the steps involved that moved your customer to the final click. But it’s not impossible. I wrote this post last year on attribution, and the field is ever changing. Earlier this year, Google bought an attribution company called Adometry and they’re now happy to help you determine what steps your customer took in their buying journey.

Attribution modeling is probably the trickiest part of figuring out your social media ROI, but it’s really important. Let’s say someone saw your ad while they were on Facebook and clicked. They read your landing page but decided they weren’t ready to buy. The next day they saw a tweet that you or a fan posted and clicked on that to continue with their research. But they still weren’t ready to buy. Then perhaps they saw an email from you, they clicked and made a purchase. Attribution companies can tag each of those touches so that they can tie them together. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than giving all of the revenue attribution to the email campaign.

To figure out what your social media is worth, you’ll want to track the purchase behavior from those who ‘liked’ your page, the click/purchase behavior from those who clicked through on your tweeted link, buying behavior from those who watched your YouTube video, and any other action you have prompted. As you can see, it’s much more complicated than figuring out your ROI on that last direct mail piece you sent. And speaking of direct mail, that can also impact your social ROI, along with TV advertising, radio etc. etc. etc. Some things you’ll be able to directly track, and some things you won’t.

Story: I used to work for a company that ran a lot of TV advertising, and also sent steady direct mail. Over time it was clear, even to management, that if we had to scale back the TV, the direct mail rates would suffer. So we were eventually able to establish how much the ‘halo’ of TV was worth. It improved the ROI of our TV ad campaign.

Your first step is to figure out what you hope to gain from your social media, and then make sure you can measure and track it. Do this by tagging your media, making sure your coupons offered via Facebook are coded, tracking all clicks from that consumer and having analytics in place.

And even though I said at the beginning of this article that it’s all about revenue, I realize that sometimes your content really is not about that. If that’s the case, know what the goal of your content is to determine if you’re achieving what you wanted to achieve. This might be engagement via answers to posed questions, or it may be shares…or in fact, it may be revenue.

“The Customer is Always Right”


By Sue Brady


“The customer is always rigCustomer is Kinght.” This slogan has been attributed to a few different people over time, but the crowd favorite seems to be Harry Gordon Selfridge, Founder of Selfridges, a store Harry opened in 1909 in England. Somewhere along the way, marketers and brands moved away from the meaning behind this way of thinking…until now.

The ‘refreshed’ phrase that I’ve been hearing a lot more over the past several months is Customer Obsession. Why the resurgence? My opinion is that it has everything to do with social media. In today’s world, if you serve your customers well, they’ll talk about it… a lot. They’ll share their experience on Facebook or Twitter, or they’ll share their opinion when someone posts: ‘Buying a car, running shoes, adopting a pet. Can anyone recommend a dealer, shop, adoption agency?’

Being customer obsessed is how it should be, now more than ever. It seems so obvious: Grow your business by listening to your customers and providing them with what they are asking for.

There are multiple advantages to getting in line with this way of thinking:

You’ll become more in tune with your customers

Being more in tune with your customers means you’ll develop products that your customers want, you’ll modify existing products to better meet unfilled needs, you’ll be able to head off potential disasters. This means you really have to listen to what your customers are saying. Listen in your call centers, listen in social media, listen to your sales team.

You’ll create customer advocates

Customer advocates = social proof. Tweet that! Social proof is the best kind of advertising there is. Consumers care about the opinions of their friends and colleagues. And, reviews from others sway the decision to buy. It’s a proven fact. In a Dimensional Research study conducted last year of consumers who read online reviews about local businesses before purchasing, 90% were influenced by positive reviews and 86% were swayed by negative reviews. The survey also revealed that positive reviews are most often seen on Facebook (44%). Social media matters.

Customer advocates can help you generate new business. This is different from social proof, though closely related. Customer advocacy refers to proactively engaging with your customers to create advocates and letting them help you sell. Here’s an example of how that works. I went to a marketing seminar a couple of months ago that was put on by Oracle. I knew there would be a sales element to it, but several of the sessions sounded so interesting, I wanted to go anyway. The speakers were senior marketers at their companies, and they all used at least one Oracle product to make their efforts successful. And the sessions were informative. The speakers were all Oracle customer advocates. They loved the Oracle tools that they used and in a broader marketing sense, they freely discussed how these tools made their lives easier, improved their marketing programs, generated more sales etc. etc. etc.

And once you have a group of customer advocates, you can make them feel special by asking them to speak at a seminar, asking for feedback on your planned marketing campaign or feedback on the latest product enhancement. People love giving their opinions, so let your advocates tell you what they think!

A Story. I once worked for a company that produced printed airline flight schedules. This was in the age of the dinosaurs, when the Internet was not mainstream. There were some really smart people who worked there who designed a sort of real-time version of the product. It was DOS-based and pretty cool. You could use it to look up flight schedules online! The problem was, travelers weren’t ready to get their information in that way. It had been worth a shot, but the product was shelved. And here’s where that company went wrong. They didn’t listen to their customers when Windows became a thing and the Internet started growing and becoming more available. They missed the signs because they were product focused and not customer obsessed (and I take partial responsibility since I was in Marketing). And only a couple of years later, Expedia and Travelocity were born and became hugely successful practically overnight.# 1

There’s a lot to this customer obsession idea.

Do you make your customers #1?


Don’t Read this Post…Unless you Want to Write Better Copy


By Sue Brady

Brain Last week I attended my first Content Jam. This gathering of content professionals features a wide variety of super smart speakers who want the attendees to be better at what they do. Content Jam 2014 was hosted by a handful of B Corps: StoryStudioChicago, Orbit Media and Mightybytes. Here are the notable tidbits I picked up during my day of learning:

Brian Burkhart on Beliefs and Writing Engaging Copy @BrianSaysBeBold

  • Find those who believe what you believe
  • You can’t give what you don’t have
  • If you believe in something, others will believe in it too
  • Let others know what you stand for. Make it about them. Talk about price after that.

Russ Henneberry on creating a Lead Magnet (by offering white papers, cheat sheets, tool kits, check lists, resource lists) @RussHenneberry

  • Rather than an ebook, find the sliver – the one important thing that your prospects want
  • A lead magnet has value, solves a specific problem with a specific solution
  • On your lead form, don’t ask for information you don’t need. Usually an email address will suffice.
  • You can give some content for nothing in return. But be sure to include the ‘next installment’ tease – only available once the reader gives up an email address.
  • Surveys and quizzes are great for interactions. To see the results, the user has to give up their email address.
  • Speed of delivery of information is key – how long does it take for the user to get the content
  • Speed of consumption is key – how long will it take the user to read the content. Give them the sliver!
  • If you write a blog, make sure you include a visible email opt in to get folks to come back
  • Use paid ads to drive traffic to your lead magnet offer

James Ellis on Measurement and Analytics @saltlab

  • Use Google Analytics carefully. Overall campaign averages are not important. Averages for your specific segments are way more valuable. For instance, looking at the overall ‘time on site’ metric means little. But comparing ‘time on site’ for visitors that came from Facebook vs Twitter will give you really useful information.
  • You want to know where the ‘stayers’ (users who stayed on your site) and buyers came from – figure out what they read that made them stay and buy
  • Use the Google URL Builder to help you understand which URL a user came from.

Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media on Brain Science and Web Marketing @crestodina

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  • Use Social Proof! “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other” – Eric Hoffer, writer 1902- 1983
  • Get influencer endorsements
  • ‘Trust Seals’ make a difference for online purchases, but some are more important than others. Check out this blog post (spoiler alert: Norton was most highly valued by users).
  • Don’t put your testimonials on a testimonials page! Make them a part of all of your website pages.
  • Test results showed that ‘calls to action’ that included social proof received more clicks. Example:
    Join the 75,000 people who read this newsletter vs Sign up to receive this newsletter
    The one with social proof will always win!
  • How can you offer social proof?
    • Testimonials
    • Endorsements
    • Social shares
    • # of happy customers
    • Product/service reviews
  • Only 1 thing can be the most important thing on a web page
  • Readers have higher attention and retention for items at the beginning and end of lists. Argh, this ended up in the middle of my list!
  • Write your content at an 8th grade level, even if your audience is filled with PHDs. This is supported by studies!
  • Make your blog posts scannable by using bolding, subheads, internal linking, copy chunking, bullets.
  • Picture choice, color choice, and orientation of faces matter. Posts with pictures of brains have higher trust value, red attracts attention, an image of a person looking a certain direction will draw the reader’s eye in that same direction.
  • Baskerville font is the most credible font on the Internet. Comic Sans is least credible.

Heidi Cohen on Content Creation and Curation @heidcohen

Curated content is content gathered from other sources.

  • Curated content must be fully credited. You must add some of your own editorial to the front and make sure it’s clear when you show content that’s from someone else.
  • Provide editorial value with a human touch to content you curate. Add your own photo.
  • Only 1 in 5 people will read beyond your headline
  • 51% of your readers will come from a great headline, 5% will come from social sources
  • If you seek out material from influencers, make it easy for them to answer your questions.

Gini Dietrich, Founder of Spin Sucks on Truth in Content @ginidietrich
Spin Sucks

  • As a content marketer, make sure you have verified your facts and give attribution where it’s due.
  • Don’t gift people to write positive reviews for you. It’s illegal!
  • Don’t publish lies and don’t do bad things!

Great way to end a great day!





1st Position is Still the Best Place to Be in Google Search


By Sue Brady


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Seasons change, fashions change, sports go in and out of season. Change is a part of life. Except when it comes to the value of buying branded terms in search and landing in the top position. Almost a year ago I wrote a post about why it’s important to buy your own branded marketing terms.Today I read an article in MarketingProfs by Ayaz Nanji  that talked about the value of being in first place in Google ad listings based on a new study by Marin Software. So indeed, this particular thing hasn’t changed.

Ayaz pointed out that first position on Google gets the most clicks, regardless of device. Clickshare for the first position on desktop is noted to be 30%. But the big change seems to be in mobile devices and tablets where the share of click has risen to 39% and 36% respectively. Also important to note is that the click-thru rate on first position ads on mobile phones and tablets is over double from position 2. I wasn’t surprised to see this on mobile, since sometimes only one ad will show on a device, but on tablets all three positions show, so that one’s harder to explain. And that also makes it interesting that click-thrus on position one on a desktop are 33% higher than position two. It’s still high, just much lower than the other devices.

The conclusion from this is that it’s important to bid yourself into first position from a click-thru standpoint on all devices, if your budget supports it. And, it’s still easiest to get in first position when bidding on your own branded terms because your quality score for those terms should always be higher than others bidding for the same, and position one will be cheaper for you because you are the brand.

As always, check your ROI for your ad word campaigns to make sure your bidding strategy makes sense. But I’ll bet that no matter what, if you’re the brand, being in position one is always the place you should be.


Part 3: Social Advertising 101: Focus on LinkedIn


By Sue Brady


This is the final installment to help you use social media as a part of your advertising plan. If you missed the posts Advertising on Twitter or Advertising on Facebook, be sure to visit those articles as you consider your advertising strategy.

LinkedIn differs from most other social media platforms because it is more business focused and definitely viewed and used as a professional site. LinkedIn has over 300 million members, and it’s under-utilized by advertisers, making it a great opportunity to get your message seen by the right group of people! So, if your advertising goals include targeting business people, LinkedIn could be a great source for you. As a side note, LinkedIn is often thought of as only a business to business tool, but it can also work for business to consumer, depending on your target.

With LinkedIn advertising, your targeting options are specific to business related factors:

  • Job title
  • Job function
  • Industry
  • Company name/size
  • LinkedIn group.

Plus, you have the usual demographic targeting that’s offered on other platforms too: age, gender, geography.

Let’s first talk about using LinkedIn groups. There are over 2 million of them and they are established so that people who share interests can connect and discuss that interest. There are 200 conversations happening per minute. On average, a LinkedIn user will join 7 groups. You’ll find tons of cool LinkedIn stats here.

Here’s a list of some of the groups I’ve joined: B2B Technology Marketing, Business Marketing Association, Digital Marketing, Direct and Database Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer Network, Mobile Marketing Association. If you are selling a product for a marketer’s use, you can find us! Birds of a feather do flock together.

Groups take more work to target because you really should visit the group to make sure there’s activity there and that the topics are relevant to what your target audience would be discussing. You can also target the people within your chosen group by other factors (mentioned above), making your ad placement very refined and hopefully making your ROI even better. Doing this level of targeting will definitely restrict your audience size and the key is to test to see how broadly you can go and still reach your specific target. Make every click count! LinkedIn groups have been described by many as the most under-utilized opportunity to have your message reach the right people.

You should keep the same advertising 101 principals in mind when you create your ads for LinkedIn: write compelling headlines and copy, have a clear call to action, use a photo, have your URL lead to a landing page specific to LinkedIn and related to the ad and folks that you’ve targeted.


Regarding budget, while this platform is more expensive than some of the others, you can still set your spend to a specific amount. The minimum daily spend allowed is $10 with a minimum cost per click of $2. You can choose to pay per click, or you can choose to pay per thousand impressions. Choosing pay per click means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and it’s the more popular way to set up an account.

You can test different ads against each other by including variations in your campaigns. LinkedIn recommends you have no fewer than 3 ads per campaign, but you can create as many as 15 variations. As your campaign progresses, LinkedIn will start to serve the ad with the highest click-thru rate more, thus making your overall campaign more effective. This can actually help you identify and roll-out a winner faster. But you have to be comfortable with a potential lack of statistical significance driving the ad that shows. Alternatively, you can set the ads to be run evenly until you yourself decide which is best.

Ad Placement

Your ads can be shown in 5 different places with two different ‘looks,’ depending on where your ad is showing:

  • Home Page – The page you see when you first log on
  • Profile Page – Seen when a user views the profile of someone else
  • Inbox – This is where you see messages and invitations to connect
  • Search Results Page – The page that comes up when you search for a person or group
  • Group Page

This is the basic ad and it appears on the right had side of whichever page above the user is on.

home page ads

This pseudo-banner ad is the other format that can be selected and looks like this. This will appear along the top of the pages listed above, with the exception of the user’s home page.

Top of page bannerYou definitely should test the multiple social platforms and ad types available so that you can determine which placements return the highest ROI (assuming that’s your goal) across all of your social campaigns.

LinkedIn has a comprehensive page to answer almost any questions you might have. Good luck!