The Two Most Important ROI Metrics for Social Media Marketing

The Two Most Important ROI Metrics for Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

What does all this ROI buzz really mean, anyway?

Everyone likes to talk about Return on Investment (ROI), and the #ROI hashtag is thrown around a lot, but how many people and businesses are actually explaining and backing up the ROI metric with meaningful data?

At Barker Social, we also talk a lot about “ROI”—but we’re not just tossing it around as a buzzword. Read on!

ROI & Social Media Marketing

But here’s the thing: Unless you’re in e-commerce selling something directly online and you’re measuring the immediate sales conversions of your social media campaigns, measuring your social media ROI isn’t all that straightforward.

In most cases, social media marketing is much more of a slow burn. For most businesses, it’s rarely about immediate sales conversions. It’s more about raising brand awareness; building your brand’s visibility, familiarity, and trust with your target customers, growing your follower base, and, over time, using that growth and awareness to convert more followers into actual customers.

Based on this sort of social media brand building, we’ve isolated the two most important metrics that you need to be tracking are:

Cost Per Exposure


Cost Per Engagement

Accountability can often be lacking in the marketing world, but it’s something that we take very seriously around here. In fact, we have yet to see any other marketers hone in on these two metrics. This is surprising, as we think that these are the key metrics in understanding the success of social campaigns.

Understanding Exposure

Your exposure has to do with how many people you’re reaching. On some platforms this is called “impressions”, on others it’s called “reach”. We like to think of this number as eyeballs; how many pairs of eyeballs are seeing your brand.

This is a very important number because it takes several “touches” (ie. exposures/reaches/impressions) before a person really starts to register who you are. That familiarity takes time, so your brand needs a lot of exposure to build recognition before people choose to buy.

We’ve introduced a Cost Per Exposure metric that takes into account all aspects of your social spend, including content creation, ad management, boosting and advertising budget, etc. calculated against the total reach/impressions across all of your social media platforms and your website’s Google Analytics.

A good Cost Per Exposure is somewhere in the range of $0.01 and $0.1.

In May of 2017, the average Cost Per Exposure for our clients was $0.025.

Understanding Engagement

Building your online presence starts with exposure, but the next desirable step is to elicit engagement from your audience. This can take the form of many different actions. In the simplest form, it can be a “like”, but things really start to heat up and make an impact when you can trigger conversations in the form of comments, shares, replies, and mentions.

When you can drum up engagement across all of your social media platforms and measure the data against those same social media costs (content creation, ad management, boosting and advertising budget, etc.), the resulting number begins to hold some real weight. It’s a meaningful number that can really show you what kind of impact your money and marketing are making.

A good Cost Per Engagement is somewhere in the range of $0.40 and $1.20.

In May of 2017, the average Cost Per Engagement for our clients was $0.75.

Making the Most of Your Data

These are two of the most important metrics that we calculate on a monthly basis for our clients. They’re an important part of our accountability as they demonstrate the return on investment that our clients are looking for. The next step is to examine the relationship between exposure and engagement and track that over time. We provide detailed reports to track this information for our clients on a monthly and ongoing basis and to provide insights and key performance indicators to measure the health and growth of the marketing campaigns.

If you’re a client who is especially keen and organized, there’s an additional option: to engage our data analyst partner at InStockly for a more detailed look at your sales data for insights and forecasting.

So the next time you’re looking at your budget and wondering about real ROI, accountability, and results, make sure you have the data that you need to make informed decisions about your marketing plans. If you realize that you don’t have measurable numbers to back up your suppositions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our cost-effective marketing plans provide results backed up by real numbers so you never have to wonder “if it’s working” again. We’ll show you real data that’s easy to understand and useful for your business growth.

Mandi Gould

Mandi is a social media marketer, copywriter, and project manager for Barker Social™. She's a results-driven planner with an unstoppable ability to churn out quality marketing content. Her creative spirit, project management skills, and copywriting ability make her a marketing dynamo. She is also a bird lover, health foodie, jazz enthusiast, and swing dancer.


Leah Feor:

Given the amount of data and information decision makers need to deal with, narrowing it down to two strong ROI metrics is very efficient. Thanks for the insight!


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