Why Measuring Performance is a Social Media Agency Challenge

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Many businesses have shifted their advertising budgets to allocate the majority of the resources toward digital marketing. That is a wise decision, but how can those companies measure the return on their investments? When enterprisers come from a traditional marketing background, they try to measure their digital marketing efforts the same way they would assess theirtraditional advertising campaigns – but because traditional and digital are completely incompatible, this doesn’t work. You just can’t use the same metrics to evaluate the outcomes of two very different practices.

In an offline business using traditional marketing, there was an easy way for a marketer to learn how a customer found him: he asked. Digital marketing, while arguably a more effective tool for reaching the broadest possible audience of consumers, is not so simple when it comes to attribution. There are plenty of metrics tools in place, but those tools are better at gauging certain aspects of digital marketing over others.

For example, search marketing is very established. Therefore, there are reputable and reliable metrics tools in place to analyze it. We know that when someone uses a search engine, they have the intention of finding something they want. Some would call this being in “buy mode.” The data that is collected from website traffic originating from searches makes it easy to see how effective an SEO or pay per click advertising campaign is, including when visits to the site result in conversions.

Social media is less established, and people use it for different reasons. That makes its performance more difficult to measure. Social media is something people largely use when they are in “social mode.” Typically, users are not aggressively looking for something to buy on social media. They may encounter and engage with brands, but they do it more passively. At best, they are in a “browse and discover” mode that may lead to a purchase.

Nonetheless, being on social media is crucial to capturing the attention of those consumers; for companies that understand this, social media continues to take over bigger slices of marketing budgets. The fact that companies are investing so much money in social media makes it more important than ever to accurately measure social media performance.

Social media metrics are still evolving, and some outcomes of social media activity, such as data that is gathered, interactions that take place and responses to content (i.e., which content gets the most attention?) can be helpful for measuring the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Until a “perfect” method is introduced, every social media agency will continue to include those outcomes in their metrics reports. What do you believe is the most effective way to measure social media performance?


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