The pressure to generate additional revenue through advertising is leading social media providers to rethink the shape and scope of the services they offer to users.
Facebook’s announcement that it will begin to deliver ads via its mobile app is a precursor to what will likely be an increased focus on advertising revenues. Likewise, Twitter’s “enhanced profile pages” for high ad spenders is clearly intended to motivate additional advertising investments, providing incentives for brands to dedicate even more ad spend to Twitter campaigns.
These changes, while encouraging brands to invest more in social media ads, are at the same time frustrating measurement efforts around the true ROI of this advertising. In today’s multichannel marketing environment, it can be extremely difficult for brands and businesses to connect ROI to specific advertising campaigns – especially when it comes to ads in social media channels.
Nailing Down Social Investment ROI
To determine ROI on advertising investments in the social space, brands are leveraging a combination of tactics that include both online and offline analytics.
- Include Unique Local Phone Numbers in Ads. Harris Interactive reports that more than three out of four (77%) online adults appreciate assistance from an actual person during online buying experiences. By including unique local phone numbers in social channel ads, buyers gain the purchase assistance they crave. But at the same time, the company gains a way to attach granular ROI metrics to specific social ad investments. When used in tandem with voice-based marketing automation solutions, unique local numbers increase sales by facilitating instant connections with leads originating in the social space.
- Direct Users to Dedicated Landing Pages. In addition to including unique local phone numbers directly in ads, it’s possible to direct social media users to dedicated landing pages. Landing pages enable brands to easily track the effectiveness of social ads through clicks. Even more, marketers can leverage landing pages to deliver additional content to social media users – content that can be strategically deployed to increase both online and offline conversions.
- Track Conversions with Inquiry Forms. Inquiry forms are a tried and true method for tracking conversions and monitoring the effectiveness of social channel ad spend. When users click an ad, they are invited to complete an online form that can generate insightful ROI metrics through CRM integration. Inquiry forms also dovetail with voice-based marketing automation tools, triggering fast responses to prospects’ inquiries.
- Track URLs on Specific Web Pages. Tracking URLs are simply web URLs with tokens designed to monitor the impact of specific web pages. For companies that advertise via social media, tracking URLs can be used in conjunction with social ad-based landing pages and are integrated into the company’s analytics platform. For instance, with HubSpot’s tracking URL builder and similar resources, brands can gain leverage tracking URLs to generate meaningful insights regarding the ROI of social media ads.
- Track Content Downloads. Since the social space lends itself to content sharing, brands can easily leverage downloads of eBooks, whitepapers and other content to track ad impact. Like other tracking strategies, user information can be channeled through the company’s CRM and voice-based marketing automation platform to generate rapid responses to qualified inquiries.
The ongoing relationship between advertising and social media will continue to impact the way advertisers approach the social space. But by employing a strategic approach that leverages web tools, offline analytics and other resources, brands will have the ability to optimize their social advertising investments.