How to Measure Your Social Media ROI According to Access 360

Speaking at the Merging Media Access 360 event was Scott Dodson, one of the top three “Gamification Gurus” in Seattle, and Rochelle Grayson, CEO of Vancouver based BookRiff, who focused on measuring social media’s real dollar value. Splitting the day into two sections, there was a practical focus to the event—which is quite different then most events that are in Vancouver.

After listening to the morning topics of measuring one’s social media efforts and a discussion on gamification in the afternoon, the workshop shifted to case studies. The audience was engaged throughout the event,  and once the case studies came along, the environment was filled with great ideas and problem solving. If you weren’t able to make it, here is a brief recap of what you missed.


If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. Measuring social media efforts has been difficult to do and it causes great discomfort not knowing how much time and money to invest or how much is being returned.  

It’s important to remember that social media’s cost is more of a time investment then a monetary investment. In order to get any return at all, one does have to invest enough time for it to succeed.

During the event, Rochelle described how many times campaigns are the focus of measurement. However, social media required a steady stream of content and this should not be neglected. By setting up your efforts with both daily activated and campaigns one can see how much more traffic one is receiving compared to normal days.

There are always two steps to measuring success of any endeavour. The first is knowing what to measure, and the second is measuring it accurately. As Rochelle described, there are four attributes one should pay attention to when measuring social media’s ROI:

• Conversation

• Amplification

• Applause

• Economic Value

Conversation can be measured through replies, comments, and, if possible, the length of the conversation. Amplification can be measured by the amount of retweets, shares per post, and the size of the audience to which it is being shared. Applause is a simple measurement of likes, favorites, +1, and other such activities. And economic value is translating all the previous measurements into an actual monetary gain.

Google analytics just came out with a social value report which measures the economic return of social media efforts. However, during the event, a guideline was given on how to measure one’s ROI.

The first of which is the 95-5 rule, which states that 95% of users are players, while 5% are payers. Simply put, 5% of traffic will actually pay. While they acknowledged 5% is actually high, it is a good starting point.

It was even argued that if more than 5% of traffic is paying, perhaps a more aggressive online strategy should be employed,  because it is likely the current base of users will max out. Using this metric one can also calculate the ROI per tweet, or share, or any other action. It isn’t a precise science and sometimes one has to go with instincts.

The event also had an extensive list of what people pay for, which was great to see in which ways your own campaign is providing value. By focusing on these one can better focus on one’s message. Below is some of what the reasons they stated.

1. Time. Such as summify which curates the top news in one’s twitter feed. Saving people time is very important in the online world.

2. Comfort. By adding advertisements, one decreases comfort. Certain users will pay to remove these and one can employ a freemium model.

3. Relationships. Making a social site has to be engaging. The thinking ape has done wonderfully because they first focused on a social platform and made a game on top of it.

4. Scarcity. GroupOn is the anti-example. If users constantly get bombarded by deals they will lose their appeal so keeping them relatively low is important.

5. Entertainment. If you’re pricing entertainment, $5 an hour is a good start. Of course this varies greatly by which platform one is using or

This is just a portion of what was covered at the event. I would recommend anyone to attend the next time they are in town (which I hear will be in the fall of this year).

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