As with CX programs, the ROI on social media can be quite difficult to prove especially with so many metrics by which to measure and monitor efforts. Organic content (that which is not sponsored or promoted) and sponsored content should also be analysed under separate lenses and over different time frames. So, how do you measure ROI from social media efforts?

What is social media?

Any platform which allows users to share content with one another instantly, in real-time over a network, is considered to be social media. During the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a radical rise in social media use as companies aim to put themselves in front of the market and individuals continue to foster deep meaningful connections in an era of social distancing

Measuring social media ROI

So, you took the leap and invested in your social media strategy to put yourself right in front of your ideal target market. Now, how do you measure the success of your campaign and messaging?

At Genex Insights, we’re all about objectives. Before executing your social media strategy be sure to know what you’re setting out to do. That way you’ll know what social media ROI you value – you might value story saves or accumulative engagement instead of website and sale conversions. This may be the case, for example, when you invest money in paid advertising to start a conversation and are concerned with how many comments/reactions a particular post or campaign received. It’s for this reason the below formula uses ‘value’ OR ‘profit’ as one of the factors in the calculation.

Types of social media ROI

Social media ROI can be split into monetary and non-monetary value.


Sales traffic and conversion as a result of social media exposure


Newsletter signups, brand awareness, engagement, website traffic

The formula for calculating social media ROI

Value(or profit)/investment x 100 = social media ROI as a percentage.

Define KPI’s and metrics for your social media efforts

Just like any business decision, your social media efforts should have well-defined objectives and goals to measure success and this way you’ll be able to make adjustments on your way to achieving your goals before measuring the overall success of your efforts.

Your social media KPI’s should link directly to real organisational metrics and business goals. For example, a KPI/objective may be ‘30 newsletter sign-ups’ and the business goal here would be ‘increasing the database’. In this case, the metric/goal of the social media effort isn’t monetary.

The reality of social media is that unless you are planning on allocating a fairly large spend to a campaign, short-term ROI is going to be a difficult feat. Social media marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Remember to make your goals realistic to achieve in a given time frame. If you’re looking for a quick win, be prepared to spend big bucks.

Are you looking at the right numbers?

Social media management and monitoring can be an absolute minefield – especially if you don’t know what you’re looking at. With so many different metrics to base success on, you need to know what you’re doing. According to Hootsuite, when deciding on what metrics to look at to base success on, you should consider:

  • What kinds of things does the target audience do after exposure to a campaign?
  • Does this metric align with my objectives?
  • Does it help me make decisions (what to do more of, what to do less of, etc.)?
  • Do I have the capacity to measure it effectively?

Cost considerations

The ‘cost’ of social media marketing is a little more complicated than a straight figure. This is where some organisations get upset with agencies and third-party media buyers. Remember the following when considering your spend while calculating your ROI:

  1. The agency/position cost to company to create the content
  2. Budget allocated to promoting the campaign
  3. The management fee of managing the budget to ensure the campaign runs smoothly.

Increasing ROI of social media

Just like the service-profit chain we have spoken in depth in our most recent white paper, once you’ve paid careful attention to the outputs and results of your social media efforts, you can use the concept of a negative feedback loop to make adjustments to your social media strategies to increase social media ROI.


Social media marketing is a long-term game which requires a bit of upfront research to identify objectives and set realistic goals. It’s incredibly important to get executives on board with how social media marketing is measured and the sometimes slow emergence of desired results.

With an increase in global screen time, being in front of your customer with the right message at the right time is invaluable and ROI on that fact alone simply can’t be argued.