The Benefits of a Social Media ROI Dashboard

Depending on what size company you are, and what your budget is, you might have all sorts of tools and dashboards you’re using, especially if you’re tracking multi-media results. But if you’re a company that is focused on social efforts, and trying to answer the age-old question “What is my social ROI?” you absolutely need a social media analytics dashboard. A lot of companies struggle to track this, and leave social ROI to metrics that don’t strictly correlate such as improvements on social pages, which a lot of C-suite members may find hard to really see that value. But if you use a dashboard tying your various metrics together, you can actually track profit/revenue/ROI. The next question is, “What should this dashboard entail?”

A social media ROI dashboard that is successful should be able to pull in data from three places: Your social networks (using the Facebook API, Pinterest API, etc), Google Analytics, and from your on-site revenue. This could be anything from DFP ad revenue if you’re an online publisher to tracking through to a sale on site if you’re in e-commerce. If you’re involved in other media, or any sort of content discovery platform like Taboola or Outbrain, it should be customized to pull those in as well, but for now let’s talk about social. Whether you’re building your dashboard in-house, or using a third-party vendor, you need to set up a tracking system with each of your posts, that allows both the API and Google Analytics to recognize what this is so the data can match up in your dashboard. The easiest way to do this is to match your Campaign and Ad names in Facebook to your UTM code in Google Analytics. Or just have a smart engineer that can set up rules in way that the dashboard can match the two together. Then the dashboard will pull in any revenue on-site from that specific link with its UTM code, and you’ll have the data you need.

social-roiNow, while you can try and put a value on X amount of followers or Y amount of engagement on social, why not actually trace your spend on social back to the true on-site profit you’re then making from those social audiences? If you pull in the data from the Big 3, as we’ll call them, you’ll be able to concretely say that those three ads you ran, or even those three organic posts, garnered a specific amount of profit. By pulling in the Big 3, the dashboard will be able to tell you how much you spend on an ad or post (so it may be $0 if organic), but then also how much you made from on-site revenue.

The dashboard will also help you make smart decisions with your ads, since you’ll have more information than just CPC. You’ll be able to like at on-site eCPM, PV/S, ROI%, and more, so you’ll more accurately see what’s causing an increase or decline in your ad’s performance. Is it due to what’s happening on Facebook? Or has there been a shift in PV/S? If it’s PV/S is this happening site-wide? Or maybe eCPMs are going down on the site? Previously you might have made decisions purely based on CPC — if CPC went up $0.02, you might shut down that ad. But now you have a dashboard telling you that despite the CPC increase, you’re actually still making a profit, because PV/S and eCPMs are also going up. So you’d be able to see the actual profit, and the reason why your ad is still doing well despite an increase in CPC. Now you have concrete evidence for social success, and support from additional ROI metrics as well.

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This dashboard can also help with those other areas of performance, because if your eCPMs are down, you can talk to the sales/advertising team to find out why, and if your PV/S are down, it may be a content issue (and of course it can worth the other way as well). So this can help with cross-team communication and productivity by having these different efforts working together. By having all of this information in one place, you can not only increase your social productivity, but your social profitability as well. And who doesn’t want that?