Chapter 19: Social Media ROI and Analytics

What is the ROI of Your Mother? (Gary Vee said it, not me.)

Around 60% of the world’s population is on the internet. Your competitors are likely advertising on digital platforms and interacting with their target audience(s) via social media. If you don’t engage, you may end up losing your relationship—or your chance to build a relationship—with that audience.

With targeted social ads, you can effectively run campaigns to increase brand awareness, increase traffic to your website, convert visitors into customers, or engage the existing audiences. If you want to make the most of these platforms, you must embrace analytics.

Gary Vaynerchuk, commonly known as Gary Vee, is the king of digital marketing. During a corporate meeting, he was enquired multiple times about the ROI of social media campaigns at his company. When the top executive manager kept asking the same question, he came back with a question of his own: “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

While it may seem a personal attack to many, Gary Vee actually raised a great point. Being the marketing genius that he is, he highlighted the importance of context and efforts when it comes to social marketing. How exactly would you put a value on the life-time investment parents make in their children? If you can’t put a number on it, does that mean there’s no value? Of course not! The investments parents make in their children are extremely valuable—incalculably so.

Vee shared this memory in a 2011 event. At that time, not many tools were present to calculate the return on investment for social media campaigns. He implied that it’s not possible to measure the ROI of his mother, but it reflects in his achievements. If his mother didn’t encourage him to be his best and boost his self-esteem, he wouldn’t be able to reach where he is today. Calculating the exact ROI of certain actions is challenging, but it doesn’t mean those actions aren’t valuable.

With time, businesses became more familiar with social marketing and a myriad of tools and metrics are now available to communicators. Therefore, he rephrased his earlier claims in 2015 and enlightened us with the fact that the ROI of social marketing can be measured and organizations must keep track of these performance indicators.

ROI of a tool is directly proportional to the time and efforts you invest in mastering it. For instance, the ROI of you playing basketball may be zero or a few hundred dollars if you bet on games. But a game of basketball will have a much higher worth for LeBron James, considering that he earns over $49 million per annum, excluding sponsorship deals and other income. Only because he spent years learning the game and investing in improving his skills is he able to realize that ROI.

The same goes for social platforms. If you keep investing in social media and build your brand online through aggressive organic and paid marketing, then the ROI will (or should) go up in the future.

Increasing the ROI of Social Media Campaigns

Social media works best when you create long-term goals instead of focusing on short-term benefits. Your campaigns should align with the organization’s vision and promote a positive image. Moreover, you should also define clear objectives you intend to achieve with social media campaigns. This way, you can increase the monetary and non-monetary revenue earned against these efforts.


Regardless of which organization you’re with, you will need time for efforts to translate to success. You ought to build networks, create goodwill, connect with audiences, and improve cash flows. Social media campaigns are no different.

You need to spend a lot of time understanding the social world. Once you have set up profiles on social platforms of your choice, you have to come up with the right content strategy. You need to learn who your ideal audience is and create content as per their interests. You also need to determine what your competitors are doing differently and learn from them.

Your social media efforts may not give much ROI during the initial days or even months, but if you come up with an effective plan, outcomes will improve with time. So, keep exploring the world of social media and your brand will eventually grow online with time and effort.


A prevalent myth is that social media is free. Let me clear this misconception for you: social platforms aren’t free for organizations or even individuals. You spend your precious time chatting with friends and scrolling the timeline when you could have spent it doing more important tasks. So, you pay the price in the form of time.

However, organizations shouldn’t only rely on organic social marketing for growth. Social media ads are extremely helpful in meeting goals. Not only are they relatively cost-effective as compared to traditional marketing channels, but they also offer better targeting options.

Businesses spend millions on social ads, but you can invest in these ads as per your budget. There are a myriad of targeting options available and you can reach the audience based on their gender, location, interests, devices, online activities, behaviours, demographics, or many other specific options.

Furthermore, for sales-oriented organizations, you can also run social media campaigns for the audience depending on their buyer’s journey stage:

  • Awareness Stage – Brand Awareness and Reach
  • Consideration Stage – Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Messages
  • Conversion Stage – Conversions, Catalogue Sales, Store foot Traffic

Analytics Tools for Social Media ROI

The best way to track your social ad campaigns is through analytics tools. You can find various tools and software that provide useful information. With the help of this data, you can optimize your social media strategy and meet predefined marketing goals.

So, here are some of the best analytics tools that may prove the right choice for you:

Hubspot Marketing Analytics

Hubspot Marketing Analytics dashboard offers a unique solution for your social marketing needs. It tracks the ROI of ad campaigns on any social platform, assists you with creating Calls-to-Action that drive results, guides you about the best SEO strategies, and lets you create attractive landing pages for lead generation.

Google Analytics

With Google leading the tech industry, one should not be surprised that their social media analytics tool is also one of the best options out there. It is compatible with Google partner platforms, including YouTube. You can also integrate it with your business website to monitor website traffic. You can determine how much traffic each social platform directs towards your website and find out detailed information such as engagement, bounce rate, conversion rate, and so on.


Mention is an innovative tool through which you can find out how your brand is doing online. It informs you about discussions related to your brand and lets you know what your audiences are saying about you. You can also use this tool to learn about your competitors and take appropriate actions to further improve your social presence.


If your social marketing strategy revolves around X/Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, then Keyhole may be the ultimate solution for you. Not only can you explore the performance of social campaigns, but also find out when your target audience is online and how they engage with social posts. You can also learn about reach, impressions, engagement, and conversion from individual posts as well as the entire ads campaign.

Aside from these standalone tools, you can also utilize analytics dashboard offered by different social platforms. They include Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, last but not the least, YouTube Analytics.

How to Get Your Business the Most Attention Possible in 2020 | Game Changers Summit Keynote 2019 – YouTube


This chapter was adapted from Intro to Social Media by Cheryl Lawson, which  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Social Media & Reputation Management Copyright © 2023 by Sam Schechter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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