Why measure Social Media ROI and How

An increasing number of business owners are now convinced that Social Media offers massive potential which can be effectively leveraged for the growth of their business and have been devoting resources to making it an essential element of their marketing plan. However, most of them are finding it difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of their campaigns and to measure the Return on investment to justify campaign expenditure.

Why ROI is important

After all, it is the bottom line that matters the most to any business and every business owner would want to know if all the time and money being invested in Social Media is making any difference to it. In addition to this, the inability to measure returns from a campaign makes it difficult to optimize it because it is extremely difficult to manage and optimize something you can’t measure.

 

Social Media ROI Social Media ROI

 

The Challenge in Calculating ROI

The textbook definition of ROI (the benefit from the activity divided by the cost input into it) is difficult to measure when it comes to Social Media because a large number of its benefits are qualitative(visibility, brand awareness, customer loyalty, trust and interaction) which cannot be accorded a fixed numerical value. And given the number of metrics that can be tracked, if you don’t choose the right ones for you, the calculations will just go nowhere. Methods and models to measure ROI are constantly evolving but no standardized best practice has been developed yet.

This is not to say that ROI cannot be measured. It is absolutely necessary and can definitely be done but it’s just that there is no One-Size-Fits-All method for all businesses. The calculation is wholly business-specific – every business has different goals and objectives and different metrics have to be employed to evaluate those targets. For example, a business which sells products online can calculate its ROI from Social Media more easily than one that doesn’t. Hence, it is extremely important that effectiveness of the campaign is measured in the context of one’s business goals to help determine its business value.

Defining Business Goals

You need to clearly define the outcomes and purpose for your Social Media Strategy – why you are doing it, what exactly do you want it to achieve and by when. This will differ from company to company and will include end-results like:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Increase traffic to website
  • Increase Customer Acquisition
  • Increase sales and revenue
  • Engage with Customers
  • Establish trust-based relationships with Target Audience
  • Reduce customer service cost
  • Improve customer retention and loyalty

 

Measuring Social Media ROI Measuring Social Media ROI

 

Measuring Intangible Benefits

Intangible benefits from Social Media – visibility, brand awareness, customer loyalty, satisfaction, trust and valuable customer interaction and feedback offer long-term business benefits. If the purpose of your social media strategy is to increase brand awareness and build an engaged and relevant following, then the key metrics like Reach, leads, Engagement and number of Fans/Followers would need to be tracked using Insights, Facebook’s built-in analytics tool or other applications. The data obtained can also be improved upon and by adding one’s own metrics such as post reach or post engagement relative to the number of fans.

Further, data concerning popular perception, feedback and sentiment about your brand can be gauged using tools such as SocialMention or Radian6. A good understanding and analysis of these metrics can help measure the effectiveness of the campaign in the context of building brand awareness.

Measuring Tangible Benefits

Website traffic, leads, conversions and sales are the most important metrics for a business which directly impact profitability. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool to track the number of website conversions that come from your various social media accounts while other paid tools like MozAnalytics and KissMetrics are also available. Keeping track of advanced metrics like Cost-per-lead and Cost-per- conversion help give a better assessment of the campaign and make it easier to quantify benefits relative to the cost of acquiring them.

Returns from Ad campaigns

Choosing whether to run a Facebook Ad campaign or a Google Adwords campaign for a better ROI depends entirely on the type of business, product/service and targeted audience. Facebook Ads offers extremely niche targeting and a number of Ad types to choose from but they typically tend to convert lesser than Google Adwords campaigns. However, Facebook Ads are much cheaper to run and hence, most often result in a better return on money spent. Eventually, the best way to choose between the two, from an ROI perspective, would be to try out both and see which works best for you.

When it comes to Social Media Ad campaigns, tracking returns on Ad spends is a much easier process than arriving at the net return from the entire social media campaign. Facebook Ad Analytics allows you to track conversions that happened on your website from of each of your Ads using the Conversion-Tracking option. This is done by placing a code provided by Facebook called an Offsite Pixel on your website which alerts Facebook once your conversion is complete. Facebook then gives you data on the number of conversions from each Ad and the Cost-per-conversion. Apart from helping arrive at an accurate value for Return on Ad Spend, this also helps optimize the campaign by determining which ads are performing better than others.

Arriving at the campaign ROI

All the Metrics and Data that we just discussed are not ROI. They are just indicators which dissect each portion of your campaign and tell you how it is performing. Each metric will have to be co-related with the results that come from it and translated into financial value to arrive at the total monetary gain from the campaign. This divided buy the cost of the campaign (Manning costs, outsourcing costs, Agency fees, Ad spends) will give you the net Return on Investment. To reiterate, the entire process will be a futile exercise if you don’t have clear specific goals in the first place, because then you have nothing to measure against. So get on with brainstorming that crucial first step and let the campaign roll. Social media done correctly definitely delivers excellent results. Keep monitoring what you’re getting out of it and optimize your strategy accordingly.

Do you have a different view/process for measuring ROI of your Social Media campaigns? Do share it with us in the Comments section.

How not to do Search Engine Optimisation

Every online business understands that SEO plays a major role in their profitability by bringing in organic (un-paid) traffic to their websites. The focus has always been on what “to do” to ensure high search engine rankings and hence enhanced traffic. However, in order to do great SEO, it is equally important to know what “not to do” with SEO.

 

Search Engine Optimisation Search Engine Optimisation

Unethical SEO techniques, known in SEO parlance as “Black Hat SEO” techniques are being used by certain businesses to dupe Search Engines into giving them a higher rank. This results in relevant websites becoming harder to find which neither augurs well for website owners nor for the search engines which strive to give their visitors the best search results. Most search engines therefore have systems and algorithms in place which can detect the vast majority of these spam techniques and demote it automatically or in worst cases, de-list them completely. This penalization is a serious issue and while it can seriously hurt even large businesses, it can potentially wipe out small ones. So, to make sure you do not head into dangerous territory, we’ve compiled a list of techniques which are rated as spam by search engines

1. Keyword stuffing:

While it is true that including keywords in your content will help in a better ranking, forced inclusion of keywords in your content or in Alt tags of your images can do more harm than good. Keywords should appear smoothly in your content as you write it and stuffing your content with keyword is definitely crossing the line. As a thumb rule, if your content doesn’t read well as your reading it, you’ve probably overused your keywords.

2. Cloaking and Hidden text:

Trying to force keywords on your site in a color which merges with the background or in any other way to ensure it is seen by search engines but not by site visitors is an old trick that search engines have become very good at getting hold of.

3. Sneaky redirects:

Attempting to redirect users to a different page than the search engine saw is a strict no-no.

4. Duplicate/Thin content with little or no added value:

Freshness of content and its recency plays a pivotal role in search engine ranking algorithms. Making regular updates to your website could therefore help in improving your rankings. However, trying to duplicate your content in an attempt to fool search engines will sooner rather than later get you on that dreaded blacklist.

Low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value (such as thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, cookie-cutter sites, automatically generated content, or copied content) will also get classified as spam.

5. Unnatural links from/to a site:

Links play a good role in SEO results and are supposed to be earned by websites by virtue of excellent content. But trying to deceive search engines with artificial or manipulated links; purchasing or selling links, exchanging them or participating in any of those grey link schemes doing the rounds can attract strict penalty. Remember, quality links matter more than quantity.

 

Black-hat SEO Strategies Black-hat SEO Strategies

 

6. Spammed Meta tag descriptions:

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team in a recent Webmaster Help Channel video said it would be better for SEOs to leave Meta tag descriptions blank than have duplicate descriptions. This may seem inappropriate to a lot of SEOs but that’s just what reality is. As Cutts added, unique descriptions for some pages definitely do matter but it’s not worth investing time and effort in coming up with unique descriptions for every single page on your site.

7. Guest comments on blogs:

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines discourage forum signature links and consider it spammy. However, Cutts says that relevant comments on topically relevant sites is absolutely fine as long as it does not form the main part of one’s link building strategy. Having a large portion of back-links coming from blog comments can raise red flags with Google.

8. Doorway Pages:

Doorway pages (simple HTML pages that are customized to a few particular keywords and programmed to be visible only to search engines) trick search engines into giving these sites higher rankings. Once clicked on, they lead to a site totally unrelated from the search query. Search engines not only ignore these pages and domains but penalize those using them.

9. Low-Quality/Unresponsive DNS providers:

Site speed is one among many factors that Google takes into account when it is deciding how to rank sites. Using a low quality DNS provider may not only adversely affect your SEO but also increases the chances of spammy content on your website, which could result in you being blacklisted by search engines.

10. Search Engine Submissions:

Search Engine Submissions are a thing of the past. It is not required by search engines and serves no practical purpose. Don’t waste your time on it.

 

White-Hat SEO - The Right Way White-Hat SEO – The Right Way

 

SEO is dynamic and ever-changing:

These are the techniques one must definitely avoid in order to stay in the good books of search engines. However, one must also be aware that search engines constantly change their algorithms and what may seem to be a correct or “White hat SEO” technique today may be classified a black hat technique tomorrow. To give you an idea of how unpredictable it can get, Google runs about 40,000 search evaluations a year and it made 665 changes to its Search Algorithm in 2012 alone. That is almost two changes every day! This makes it increasingly difficult, even for the most competent and expert SEOs to keep track of and to incorporate these changes into their work. So, invest your SEO budget rightly in a value-added long-term SEO strategy and focus on getting a good return on your investment instead of trying to find ways to bypass the system guidelines and get yourself in trouble.

Google and other search engines spend millions of dollars and hire the best brains with the best knowledge in the space to ensure that they provide their visitors with the best search engine results. So remember, just in case you think you’re smart, search engine Bots are a million times smarter. Don’t do SEO just for the sake of doing SEO. Don’t head into Black Hat territory. It’s just not worth the risk.

For information on the right SEO techniques, read our posts on the key aspects of executing an SEO plan and the key takeaways from the Google GDayX-Chennai conclave.

For a discussion on enhancing your website traffic using ethical SEO techniques, you can contact us here

7 Must-Know Google Search Tips and Tricks

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikimedia Foundation once said “If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.” We stand in an era where no one would deny what Jimmy said. More than 90% of the market share in search engine belongs to Google. With gazillions of data available on the web, how do you get the exact information you’re looking for from the Google search? For example, when you want to look for Jaguar (the animal), the keyword you are likely to enter is “Jaguar.” Wait. Please find below the Google search results for the keyword “Jaguar.”

Google Search Results for Jaguar

This conflict between your mind and Google’s search engine can be easily avoided if you master these 10 tips and use it effectively. This will also save your valuable time and optimize your search results.

1.  Definitions

You get to read a lot of contents online in the form of news articles, blog posts, tutorials, e-books etc. Have you ever found yourself taking a pause in the middle of reading a cover story only because the word or the phrase was so alien to you? In this case, you would either reach out to a pre-installed dictionary software or Google it by randomly choosing a website from the search results page one.

Instead, remember this simple syntax and let Google tell you the definition, origin of the word and synonyms. You can also listen to the pronunciation of the word. Use define: in front of any word to learn the definition of it.

E.g. define: legerdemain

Definitions

2.  Quotes

Quotes are very useful if you are looking for something specific on your search results. Imagine this scenario. You remember the title of an article very well, but you vaguely remember the website’s name. Using quotation marks in your search could be really helpful in those cases. Check out the below example where the search for Digital Marketing Trends for India in 2014 without using quotation marks results in a lot of websites suggestions which have these words arranged in any manner.

Quotes Search

If you include quotation marks for the same sentence, you get totally different results, the results you desired for. So, if you are looking for a specific phrase and you want only those websites which have the same phrase in the exact order, use quotes to refine your search results.

E.g. “Digital Marketing Trends for India in 2014”

Quotes Search Results

3.  File type

Of late, we have been witnessing a lot of religious protests against films leading to censorship by several state governments across India based on the Cinematograph Act. So, you decide to read about it thoroughly to avoid feeling lost in the conversations happening on social media platforms. If you plainly search for “Cinematograph Act” in Google, you’ll get editorials and op-ed columns of popular publications as results.

Instead, use the following syntax to zero in the particular file type you are looking for to read about the topic in-depth. You can search for specific file types by adding the 3-letter abbreviation of the file type. E.g. PDF, PPT, XLS, DOC.

E.g. cinematograph act filetype:pdf

Filetype

 4.  Case-sensitive and Punctuation

Please note that Google search is not case-sensitive. If you search for either New Delhi or new delhi, your results will be the same. So, you can stop being conscious to case-sensitive words in Google search.

Search overlooks punctuation too. You can ignore it as well and save time.

 5.  Related

This technique is useful for all digital marketers who are researching for competitors in a particular space.  It helps to find websites which have similar content. For instance, if you are shopping on Flipkart and want to find out similar e-commerce websites, this tip could help you.

Using the syntax related: followed by the website address will give you websites similar to that in search results.

E.g. related:flipkart.com

Related

 6.  Include or Exclude Words in Search

This trick helps you to include or exclude a specific word in search results. For example, if you want baking recipes with egg as an ingredient, you need to highlight the word Egg by using quotation marks in the search.

To include egg in your baking recipes, the syntax should be baking recipes “egg”

If you are looking for baking recipes without egg, the syntax should be baking recipes -egg

 7.  Search within a site

Have you ever struggled to find something specific within a website? This syntax could be your solution. For example, if you want to read editorials on The Hindu website and you find that the search box in the website doesn’t work. Fret not. Use the syntax site:website to search within a particular website.

E.g. editorials site:thehindu.com

Search within a specific site

Got an interesting Google search tip? Please share with us in the comments.

Click here to know more Google Search Tips and Tricks

Infographic: Email Campaign Checklist

Infographic-Email-Campaign-Checklist

12 Salient Points you shouldn’t miss before you hit the “Send” button on your Email campaigns:

Even tiny errors in your emails can have a big impact on their Open and Click Through Rates. Most mistakes can be avoided if we adopt a Checklist approach to sending each email. So, we’ve put together an Email Campaign Checklist with the most important practical points which need to be checked-off before the email is good to go. We usually recommend using Mailchimp or Sendgrid for sending out emailers and tracking its results.

Subscriber list:

1. Has your distribution list been revised and cleaned of opt-outs and complainants?

From & Sub lines:

2. Does your “From” line include your company name or brand?
3. Is your Subject line clear, catchy and answers the reader’s question “What’s in it for me?”
4. Have you checked that no spam trigger words used in subject line?

Copy (Text and Content):

5. Have your Emails been personalized with correct names? Improves open and click-through rates.
6. Have you used Headings with short paragraphs, bold and bullet formatting to enhance Scanability?
7. Is your Call-to-Action, if used, strong and strategically positioned?

Important Details:

8. Is the Unsubscribe button/link clearly visible and working?
9. Is the link to web-based version (View Emailer on the Web) clear and on top?
10. Are all links working and have custom parameters been added to track in Google Analytics?

Images:

11. Are all images alt-tagged with correct links?
12. Have you checked the Image-text ratio? (Ideally 50/50; 80/20 acceptable for E-commerce e-mailers)

If you’ve answered “Yes” to all these questions, you can go ahead and send the email.

For any queries on your email marketing campaigns or if you wish to optimize them, please contact us and we would be glad to help.

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