Social media ROI is a slippery issue -- a topic that is endlessly debated but never resolved. It is like one of those mythical creatures of which sightings are reported but never confirmed.
As Dr. Pete wrote on his seomoz.org blog on November 11, 2009, while attending the Pubcon conference in Las Vegas:
“The enthusiasm for social media (and especially Twitter) has been stronger than ever, but we all seem reluctant to dampen that enthusiasm by talking about an uncomfortable fact -- very few of us have really found a way to measure social media success.”
Likewise, said measurement expert Don Bartholomew, aka, the Metrics Man, on his blog on May 28, 2009:
“One of the hotter topics in my corner of the Twitterverse is Return on Investment (ROI). How do you calculate the ROI of social media? What’s the ROI of Twitter? The questions are many, the answers too few.”
Nevertheless, a host of marketers are doggedly searching for a way to measure social media ROI. Why? Some companies deem ROI projections necessary to justify the money they spend on their marketing efforts. They also want to be able to judge the success of their campaigns by determining how much return they actually reap on their investments.
As Jason Falls relates on socialmediaexplorer.com on August 26, 2009, “Decision-makers want to know, ‘If I spend X amount of dollars on social media, what does it get me?’ ”
Yet social media ROI remains a tough nut to crack. As Falls says:
“The return on investment for social media marketing is not an easy thing to determine. It’s not easy to measure. It’s not easy to argue. It’s not easy to prove.”