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It’s time to wake up!

Wake up to what’s happening to our campaigns and digital marketing efforts! Now is the time we assess the worth of the time, money and energy we dedicated on social media just like how we dedicated them to the rest of the business operations and requirements.

However, that’s quite complex because from one aspect, it can look really tough. But from another, very simple! In this article, we will delve into both so that you have, in the end, have a structure to how you can measure the performance of your social media campaigns.

Measure What is Crucial

Regardless of what you focus on or what your vision is, for a business, it all boils down to two things:

  • Revenue
  • Expenditure

If you have a different opinion, just pull out our accounting software and look at the number of likes on your P&L statement and the retweets or shares for your balance sheet. Businesses don’t run on shares, likes, and subscribers list, it runs on money and with tummies to feed, every currency note that enters and leaves matters.

Ironically though, it doesn’t mean that your Facebook likes or retweets don’t mean anything to your business. They actually do. But equating them to the success of your business doesn’t.

It’s actually possible to measure the impact of your social media activities on your business but the key lies in knowing where to start.

To begin with, let’s get going with some bad news!

Measuring ROI from Social Engagement is Tough

From being tough, it can become impossible in some cases. However, that shouldn’t stop you from measuring your revenue from social media engagement. You can measure them if you know what the problem is and generally, the problem goes by the term: attribution.

On papers, attribution is defined as the identification of the actions a buyer took that contributed to a sale and assigning a value to those activities.

John Wanamaker

19th century business man John Wanamaker had attribution problems too.

The truth is that this isn’t a new problem marketers face today. Attribution has always been there and advertisers have always faced problems in tying back a sale to the strategy that worked.

If you’ve come across John Wanamaker, the 19th century businessman, you would know about his famous quote.

He said that “half of the money he spent on advertising was wasted and that the trouble lay on not knowing which half.”


When it comes to digital marketing and measuring social engagement, attribution is still a major concern. Though there are tools like Google analytics, even the most effective tools fail to measure attribution for online engagements.

Avoid this Approach…

Most of the analytics tools out there attribute sales to the last click of a user. Let’s try to visualize this a little:

  • Imaging someone looks up for power banks and ends up on your website. They check out your website, give a thumb’s up to your Facebook page and then leave.
  • A couple of days later, they read an article on the top 5 power banks under a budget that you’ve posted on your website’s blog. The same user stumbles upon that article from his newsfeed, reads the article and leaves your website again.
  •  A few more days later, the same user Googles up for power bank again and clicks on the search engine ad that you’ve put up for a particular keyword. The user recognizes your brand and immediately makes the purchase through the Adword.

If you look at the journey of this user in your website, it will be something like this ORGANIC SEARCH > SOCIAL NETWORK > PAID SEARCH.

So, when you look at an analytics tool (including Google), what you will see is the attribution of 100% tied back to paid search, leaving the rest two with 0%.

Social Media Engagement

When you look at your analytics, naturally, you will come to the conclusion that the efforts you’ve put in on your social media activities is waste. This approach is called last click attribution and is misleading to the every word of it.

What’s the alternate?

There’s always an alternate solution to every conventional solutions and they appear when you look for them at the right place.

There are diverse attribution models available and even the free version of Google analytics offers them.

To get started with it, you need to set up a goal on Google Analytics. If you don’t, read this support document from Google to get Goals set up.

Open Google Analytics on your browser and then select CONVERSIONS > ATTRIBUTION > MODEL COMPARISON TOOL. When you select it, you will be able to see different attribution models.

Here, you can modify the way Google Analytics attributes credits to goal conversions. To make things simpler, here’re quick descriptions of the different attribution models you’ll find in that tab.Social Engagement

Last Non-direct Click – Apart from the direct visits, the last click from your user gets 100% attribution.

Last Interaction  –  Self-explanatory! Attribution is credited to the last click of your user.

Last AdWords Click  – The last click of your user from your AdWords campaign gets the credit.

Linear  –  Credits get equal weightage on your user’s each visit within the lookback window.

First Interaction  – The first visit of your user within the Lookback window bags the credit.

Position based  – Credits get distributed between your user’s first and last visit.

Time Decay  – More credits get attributed to your user’s latest visits while less ones get attribute to his or her older visits.

If we have to revisit our example and assess these models, only two would actually make sense – Time Decay and Linear.

As a marketer, in fact, these are the only two models (Time Decay and Linear) you need to assess your campaigns’ performances including your social media campaign.

On Google Analytics, you can compare up to three different models parallely and as an example, the screenshots of a software company’s Last Interaction Model to the Time Decay and Linear models.Last Interaction Model to the Time Decay and Linear models

On the screenshots, if you look at the Time Decay and the Linear models, it’s evident that social media has contributed to up to 36% to goal conversions that what we could infer from the last interaction model.

In this example, social media has been more crucial in assisting sales than it has been the last touch point for conversions.

By using the right attribution model, you not just get a clear picture of your campaigns’ performances but how it is bringing in revenue as well.

Now Its Time For The Good News…

It’s easy to measure the cost of social media engagement!

While it’s quite difficult to measure the revenue from your social media engagement, what is well accessible is measuring the costs involved.

How much do you spend on your social media engagements?

How much costs do you incur in paying for your graphic designers? Are there expenses involved in giveaways and freebies? Do you pay a digital marketing staff, an agency, or a company?

If you’re the only one taking care of all these, how much money will you equate to the time you spend on doing these things?

Come up with an estimate and multiply it by the duration of time you spend on doing these. For instance, if you’re spending close to 10 hours on social media per month and you value Rs. 500 per hour, your cost is Rs. 5000.

Next, calculate the cost per engagement of your campaigns. For this, you have to add all of your social media engagements together and divide your cost by the number. It will tell you the cost per engagement.

• Cost per engagement

$2000 spend / 2682 engagements = $0.75 Cost Per Engagement

We know that it’s quite a time-consuming task – adding all your likes, shares and retweets! It’s necessary, you see.

The next phase is to take this process up a notch and apply the same technique across different channels and timelines. In the end, you will be surprised to know that you’ll have information on:

  • The percentage increase in social engagement
  • Cost per engagement on Facebook
  • Cost per engagement on Twitter

When you chart the whole thing out, you will know where you need to put in more efforts and where the process is fine-tuned. Besides, doing this will also allow you to make more informed decisions on the following:

  • If the role of a graphic designer is indeed adding value to your campaigns
  • If the contests and giveaways you ran were actually effective
  • And it all comes down to these, right? Measuring social engagements so we can take informed decisions?

If you feel this is the best approach, take some time off and start implementing this right now. If you have any questions or queries, shoot them on the comments section below. Good luck!

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Sai Bharath

Sai Bharath

Founder of IADMS

Sai Bharath is a Passionate Trainer, blogger, Entrepreneur , Digital Marketer from Bangalore . Also a Digital Marketing Consultant for many corporate and SME’s He has specialist in Google analytics, Adwords, SEO & Email Marketing. He has been in this field since 2012.

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