7 Ways to Actually Track Social Media ROI (…GetMaineLobster fired 6 social media managers once they figured this out!)

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March 01,2016 by
Scott Desgrosseillers

What’s your social media ROI?

In other words, is all the time you spend…

  • Tweeting
  • Posting
  • Commenting
  • Pinning

… making you money? Or just making you “popular”?

And if you do generate sales from social media, how much is it costing you?

As John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches of all time said…

“Don’t confuse activity with achievement.”

Mark Murrell, CEO of GetMaineLobster.com came to us (Wicked Reports) after he decided to hold all his marketing and advertising (including social media) accountable for results…

18 months later he had fired six social media managers.

Why? He decided to make data-driven decisions. And if he discovers a certain media or lead source is not producing a positive ROI then he will stop wasting money, and start figuring out what needs to be done better.

That’s exactly what we did with GetMaineLobster’s social media spending and what I’m sharing with you today: the 7 crucial metrics to monitor in social media to determine your social ROI, and how to do it right.

But first…

Obstacles to Measuring Social ROI

There were a couple common obstacles Mark faced when he first tried to measure his ROI from social media — you may be familiar with them.

First, the GetMaineLobster team struggled to maintain the discipline to put tracking parameters on all their social media links. He’d log in to check the ROI of the latest post and see…nothing.

The frustration of still not knowing whether the social post had any effect at all was frustrating!

It’s not hard, but it does add time to your day when you have to put tracking parameters on each link.

But Mark and his team re-committed to putting UTM tracking links on all social posts, even if it was an extra step. In other words, the pain from having no social ROI metrics outweighed the pain, and tedious process, of putting tracking parameters on every post.

Once the tracking was in place, Mark faced his second obstacle: holding the social media managers accountable for results. It was an uphill battle because they were not used to this.

So Mark make it clear that he would hold them accountable for sales (not “likes” or clicks) attributed to social media. To hold them accountable, it was a imperative to measure.

Which brings us to…

7 Crucial Social Media Metrics To Monitor

Here are the social media metrics Mark used to measure his ROI (and clean house)…

1. Clicks to Website by Source

This one is pretty basic. It simply answers the question, “How many people are visiting my website (broken down by social media channel)?”


2. Email Opt-ins by Source

If someone chatters all day long on Facebook, but never joins your email list, then what’s the point?


3. Sales by Source (And 4 Attribution Models)

This one can get tricky — but DigitalMarketer has you covered, as brilliantly explained in this post by Russ Henneberry.

(RELATEDSee how Google Analytics handles attribution models in this article, “How to Measure Social Media Engagement“)

Mark uses Wicked Reports to track all his marketing, which allows him to attribute sales in four key areas. The way he chooses to measure attribution is by:

  • First Click attribution
  • First Opt-in attribution
  • Last Engagement attribution
  • Converting Click attribution.

Let’s look at each attribution model to see how it affected his social ROI…

(NOTE: Have you audited your social media lately? Use this simple audit to grade your social efforts and identify opportunities to get more followers, increase engagement, and drive more traffic. Get our free download here.)

4. First Click Attribution

This is the first click that ever brought someone to your website.

When a sale occurs (anytime in the future after that first click), first click attribution goes back in time to the very first click tracked. If that click is one of the social networks, then that social source gets credit for the sale when looking at “first click attribution“.

So how many of Mark’s first clicks from social media turned into buyers sometime in the future?


30 sales for about $7,500. Is that good or bad?

Well…if you are paying $36,000/year to a social media manager, then no.

Perhaps social media isn’t driving first clicks, but is it getting leads onto GetMaineLobster.com’s email list that eventually buy?

To answer that question, we look at the “First Opt-in” attribution…

5. First Opt-in Attribution

First opt-in attribution takes the revenue from a sale and looks back in time to the incoming click that led to the prospect joining your email list.


45 sales for about $10,000.

Again, considering $36,000 was paid out, it’s not good enough.

Also, notice that not one sale came from anywhere but Facebook. And, the big seller for the year has some cost — it was a couple boosted posts, which is a paid ad that began as a social post.

Track Social Media ROI

Track Social Media ROI

Also, should GetMaineLobster still spend time on Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram? Not without a dramatic strategy change.

So perhaps all the sales are coming from people who are already on Mark’s email list when they click on the social post? GetMaineLobster drives the majority of their traffic to opt-in pages.

To answer that we turn to the next attribution model called “Last Engagement.”

6. Last Engagement Attribution

Last Engagement attribution measures every sale against the last time someone offered up their email address, after they were already on your email list to begin with.

With retargeting becoming more widespread, this attribution model is becoming more important. So how did GetMaineLobster drive revenue to people using the Last Engagement model?

Looking below at his Social ROI report using Last Engagement attribution, about $10k in revenue, but again, $6,500 of that $10k was from a boosted post, which is paid advertising.


Next question, is there any chance people are clicking on a social post and buying right away?

To answer that question, we use Converting Click attribution.

7. Converting Click attribution.

This attribution model is similar to Last Click attribution in Russ’ blog post on social media measurement. However, Converting Click only looks back 24 hours to find a click to give credit for the sale.


Mark’s converting clicks did pretty well actually!

However, I spy some costs that went along with that revenue. This means that it’s possible that some of his revenue came from a boosted post.

Let’s dive into the specific Facebook posts using the Converting Click model to see which post put the money in GetMaineLobster’s pocket.


Yep. Too good to be true…$5,819 of the $17,000 of revenue came from a paid ad.

That leaves us with around $11,000 and change from buyers that click on a social post and bought within 24 hours. That would be solid… if Mark hadn’t paid $36,000 for that!

The Bottom Line

By holding his social media managers accountable for real results (think revenue) from social media activity, Mark was able to gain insight and clarity surrounding his social media efforts.

And when he sees he’s spending more than he’s making, it makes it easy to decide what to do more of and what to stop doing.

(NOTE: Have you audited your social media lately? Use this simple audit to grade your social efforts and identify opportunities to get more followers, increase engagement, and drive more traffic. Get our free download here.)

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Scott Desgrosseillers

About Scott Desgrosseillers

Scott Desgrosseilliers is the founder and CEO at Wicked Reports. He's the guy companies like Infusionsoft, Digital Marketer and Ryan Levesque Associates turn to for help with their data. Before Wicked Reports, he played a key role at Motorola as a data architect and led global programming teams for 10 years. Scott brings a simple, common sense approach to the complex world of data-driven marketing. Scott is teaching a live webinar on How To Track Your Social ROI, which you can register for here.

View all Posts by Scott Desgrosseillers