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March 17, 2011


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Account Deleted

Hey David, love the post - practical and straight to the point. I agree with the most of the measurement tools you detailed in your post, however, I tend to disagree with the number of Facebook Likes or Twitter Followers as a KPI in any standards. If we take the case of FB, most of the people like numerous pages, and rarely do they come back to visit it or comment on it - so can I really classify that as a return on my efforts? The same logic applies to Twitter Followers ...
Frankly, I believe we sometimes get fixated with the concept of the Return On Investment and we tend to forget the "Risk of Ignorance". How can we really measure the ROI of a "Thank You"? We can't, still we depend on it a lot!
As you said in your post, Engagement is what counts - the back and forth interaction is what makes it worth our while, worth our investment!
Thank you for continuously adding value David.

David Meerman Scott

John, I think that looking at ONLY Twitter followers and FB friends is not a great measure, but as part of an overall strategy it is.

Thanks for jumping in.

Joe Pelisier

Yes, I've advocated Squeeze Pages in the past but have had a much better response with my eBook (The New Rules of Writing for the Web) that I released last week.

The measurement for me is a tripling of traffic to my site and an increase in enquiries.

There is also a credibility measurement. Because of the way it has been published and communicated my crediblity rating is higher.

It's good for self-esteem too...

Quick question: How do I measure the downloads of the .pdf of the eBook?

PS This eBook was published in style and format as you recommend. I encourage others to follow your lead!

David Meerman Scott

Good for you, Joe. You will also see your search engine rankings improve as people link to the ebook.

You need some sort of analytics software on your site to measure.

Remco Janssen

Hi David,

How about gut feeling as a measurement tool for ROI?

Ask yourself: did we do well?


Scott Anderson

I also have to agree that registration is generally a bad idea, simply because I'm one of those people that will turn away rather than register. I have enough online accounts already without adding another one.

That said, I think that simplified logins through places like twitter or facebook can be a sort of best of both worlds. For example, as I write this comment I have the option to sign in with either of those services rather than manually submit my information. Not the ideal solution for all, but it can bridge some of the gap I think.

David Meerman Scott

Hey Scott -- wow you are a smart person. I had never thought about the idea of a Twitter login as a way to generate a lead form. Thanks for that idea.

In my case I would most certainly not actually "log in" via Twitter (give them my password). However, I would be more willing to give my Twitter handle to someone for an ebook than my email address.

Mark W Schaefer

Just to be clear, qualitative measures such as blog comments and search results are very appropriate, but not ROI. ROI is strictly a financial measure which unfortunately is used a little too loosely on the social web. I'm sure that is not what you meant David, but for people connecting your headline and your text, I wanted to be make this distinction. Newcomers to the field will get into trouble if they begin showing blog comments to their CFO as "ROI." : ) Thanks for the post.

David Meerman Scott

I agree Mark. But the point of my post is that an insistence on traditional ROI measures leads to inaction. How can you "prove" the value of a YouTube channel, blog, or Twitter feed before you start one? And how long can you hold out before a "generating a positive ROI" if you start one on faith?

I strongly believe that offline ROI measurements of online marketing lead to failure.

At many companies insisting on ROI is code for fear. I want to know why the CFO holds social networking to a different standard than other things the company does like give Blackberrys to salespeople. I've asked hundreds of management teams to show me the ROI calculations on salespeoples' Blackberry provision and zero do it. So why hold another form of communication to a different standard?

Tony Faustino

David, my apologies for joining the conversation late.

Measuring ROI is important, but only to a certain point. For example, your suggestions #1 - #4 could all be linked in some way to customer retention costs or cost per lead. All 4 indicators could provide evidence if these costs were increasing/decreasing (versus trying to keep score via traditional public relations methods like hiring an external agency or the time required to pitch multiple media outlets).

Understanding these costs would be important because they directly impact profit margins (your suggestion #7).

But, let's not get caught up in the paralysis analysis overemphasiing ROI measurement. Business measurement should help us make more informed decisions versus creating data simply for conveniently "covering your corporate butt."


On the subject of measurement, may I suggest Doug Hubbard's book How To Measure Anything? He makes a good case for showing that most supposedly immeasurable intangibles are perfectly capable of being captured. If Enrico Fermi could accurately measure the yield of an atom bomb by throwing confetti in the air and seeing where it landed, then surely the PR and marketing industry can work out a way to measure the ROI of social media.

BTW - ever considered using Docmetrics to get round the perennial web registration form dilemma?

aluminium kozijnen

Great ideas to share with us..

Ricardo Bueno

In the last ~1 month or so, my company launched a Community Forum and I've been writing (almost) daily on the blog. We've seen some great increase in traffic (and great feedback via the comments) and though slow at first, some neat activity on the forum (clients are connecting with one another).

It's been tricky to tie things directly to Sales. I think we need to do better here and ask the client how they heard about us, etc. But we're making progress.

Kimberly Conon, Luminosity Marketing

Just a couple points I would add: 1) Many folks forget to tie their chosen measure(s) back to defined goals. Keeping goals at the forefront of measurement design allows for greater accountability (and creativity, too!) in defining which indicators will gauge success. As John said--counting followers for the sake of counting followers (especially when striving for depth vs. breadth of customer relationships) is a fruitless exercise. 2) If I really, *really* want to read content (and I can get it free), I will happily register to do so. And I don't think I'm the only one. But I agree that the process should be as simple as possible.

David Meerman Scott

Kimberly - I agree with tying to goals. However, I disagree with registration. It simply puts the brakes on the number of people who will choose to download. I've done the analysis. It is a flawed metric.

aluminium kozijnen

Yeah how many members are engaged with us and speaking about offers that one is very important.. Thanks for sharing this information..

Wayne Morris

Good points in the discussion. It seems that the marketing metrics can be segmented into three categories:

1. Attraction (followers, fans, website visits…)
2. Engagement (mentions, retweets, sentiment, pages viewed, time on site..)
3. Conversion (goal completion, lead, opportunities, revenue, profit, conversion ratios, costs, ROI..)

While all these metrics are valuable, the conversion metrics are required to show true ROI.

Pepe Fanjul

If Enrico Fermi could accurately measure the yield of an atom bomb by throwing confetti in the air and seeing where it landed, then surely the PR and marketing industry can work out a way to measure the ROI of social media.


Spoke at UMass Dartmouth last night about careers in social media.

A lot of nay sayers out there in the marketing world that still don't see the value in new media marketing. Even with all the ROI you can show, track and calculate vs traditional media.

I promoted the HECK out of you and Real-time interaction. :)


Hi David, thanks for this post.

As someone who spends time trying to convince smaller business owners the value of social media, a checklist like this really helps to sell the idea. And equally important, it helps also prove how & why the efforts were of value.

And you're right, these measurements work best when looked at holistically.


David Meerman Scott

Thank you Matt - yes there are still many people who operate on fear.

John - Using the right measurements helps with the fear issue I see everywhere.

Andrew Spoeth

Hi David,

Just tuning into this conversation now. What sticks with me from this post, actually the comments, is your point about trying to measure the ROI of a sales rep's Blackberry. This is such a great point. Thank goodness common sense prevails in that case.

Is it fear of trusting in our own common sense that drives us to fixating on ROI? Certainly ROI calculations can help us make better decisions on marketing investments, but it shouldn't stop us from starting in the first place. Here, I liken the Blackberry to social media.

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