ROI of Social Media Mix

December 12, 2011
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Top Market Researcher Twitter Contest

Top Market Researcher Twitter Contest

This week ResearchLive Magazine which I believe is affiliated with the UK Market Research Organization (MRS), together with Jon Puleston of research firm GMI, is hosting a Twitter contest among market researchers. I was one of 20 market researchers nominated as the most active tweeting about marketing research. If you are on Twitter you can vote for your favorite researcher on Twitter here.

Partly because of our work in Text Analytics (OdinText) I’ve been rather active on various social media including Twitter. However my involvement has gone well beyond my need for technical understanding and has become somewhat of a hobby, albeit one that I’ve noticed has been rather beneficial for business.

The contest made me wonder about the ROI of social media marketing initiatives, especially Twitter. While Anderson Analytics does track the impact of various campaigns I often don’t have the time to look at the data. Today, because of this contest, out of curiosity I checked some of our data to understand what value Twitter is actually bringing to the table. Below are two tables showing total traffic to two of our websites, Anderson Analytics as well as my blog.

In total mainstream social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) is responsible for about 14% of our traffic. I believe this is actually a smaller percentage than for most companies in my field as we utilize several other techniques for online targeted advertising as well.

Looking at mainstream social media only the relative value of social media channels becomes clearer. The blog is responsible for 44% of the traffic to our company site, followed closely by LinkedIn (39%), and then Twitter in 3rd place (13%), and last Facebook (4%).

Of course these are concentric circles of influence, and good parts of the blog traffic are also due to social media including LinkedIn (72%), Twitter (16%), Facebook (10%) and the NGMR Ning group (just 3%).

It looks to me that blogging can be most powerful. I would suspect that for many others Twitter may be proportionately more effective than LinkedIn. Part of the reason our LinkedIn metrics are so high is because of the fact that I am rather active in the Next Gen Market Research group I founded and moderated which this weekend hit the 14,000 member mark. Still I think many underestimate the power of actively managing a brand via your network and groups on LinkedIn.

So, getting back to Twitter, is it a good ROI? In total since 2008 we have had 7,088 ‘unique’ visits due to Twitter. How much is a unique visitor worth to you in advertising dollars? Divide that by the time invested tweeting (which can be relatively low), and you have a basic metric of value.

Still, it’s really hard to look at any of these metrics in isolation. Social media done right is continuous brand engagement which is a careful mixture of content quality and volume. Spewing out spam (Shamelessly promoting yours or others products without offering significant value) whether on Twitter, LinkedIn or on a blog is not likely to be very effective for you.

Of course the analysis above is rather simplistic as I did not take into account conversion data, we track this as well of course (via Salesforce.com and SalesGenius.com), but that analysis is quite a bit more complicated.

While Twitter is not my most effective social marketing tool, I do think the ROI of Social Media (Twitter included) is definitely there. Depending on where you choose to focus your ratio will be different from our numbers above. However, I assume the overall effectiveness will depend more on your continued strategy and quality of engagement rather than on pure numbers alone.

@TomHCAnderson