The Top Driver of Social Media ROI That You Are Probably Missing

by · December 17, 20134 comments

Attribution problems are likely the greatest barrier to social media ROI in the market today. The reality is that social media does a tremendous job of starting the conversation, but many times it isn’t the “last” place someone looks before making a purchase. Therefore, there are a lot of sales that social media influenced that go unreported.

Remarketing advertising offers an opportunity to segment social media users and show them targeted ads through the Google Ad Network or through Facebook using tools like AdRoll.

In order to do this with the Google Ad Network ,you will need to create a segment of users inside of Google analytics that came from any social channel. For example, create a separate segment for users referred by Twitter ( or Facebook (  Because the social referrer may come from a variety of different sources, it is imperative that you take the time to set up your segments properly and create a standard way of sharing links.

Target CustomersHowever, you can start to better control this so that your custom segments are spot on if you have Google Analytics. Every time you post a link on a social channel add tracking parameters that you can control. This free tool allows you to customize the source, medium and campaign that will report inside of Google Analytics. For the purposes of this discussion we are focused on the source. Put the social channel where you are promoting the link in the source field, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin, etc. If you want to know all the ins and outs of how to do this, check out this tutorial from Google.

With the combination of Google URL Builder to easily segment your social audience and adding a little line of remarketing code to your site you will be able to add massive layers of ad testing to figure out what drives social conversion. Here are some of my favorite things to test and attempt to answer:

  1. Do Twitter or Facebook followers convert more often on direct response ads for our products or services?
  2. Does remarketing with content marketing ads have a larger impact on social conversion than direct response ads?
  3. Are social media followers more likely to convert into email subscribers before purchasing or vice versa?
  4. Do remarketing ads that are aligned with the type of content in the link they originally clicked on more or less effective in driving conversions?

Remarketing offers a tremendous ability to finally test and measure social media’s role in both direct response and longer-tail conversions.  It’s easy to implement and inexpensive to test what conversion points will work with your social media fans and followers.

Did you notice? There is still one big gaping hole. You can currently only add visitors to remarketing lists if it is a link that goes to your own website. For most of us, we share up to 80% of our content that goes to a third party website, i.e. Mashable, CNN, etc. This is the value we provide to our audiences.

If you are interested, I have good news. SME Digital and WebMechanix solved this problem with our patent pending technology TRKS.IT. You will be able to track your third party links (links to someone else’s website) exactly the same way you track 1st party links (links to your website) and add users who click links to remarketing lists based on which link they clicked. The product will launch into beta very soon for WordPress and Google Analytics users. If you are interested in being a tester please join the mailing list here.

Have you used remarketing to test different conversion opportunities with your social media followers? If so, what were the results? What have you tested to close the gap between social media engagement and conversion? Leave a comment and share your story!

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Mike Poynton

    Hi, Nichole: I very much enjoyed this post and would like to learn more. I was wondering if you could save me a little time and recommend some good references/sources for more information on the “nuts and bolts” involved on the back end. Thanks!

    • Nichole_Kelly

      Thanks so much for the feedback Mike! Honestly, the best thing to do is tour around the Google help center. Every time I try to find something better, I find that there documentation is the most thorough. Not perfect, but better than other things out there. You can also hit up @arshammm from Web Mechanix on Twitter. He knows the back end of Google Analytics and the ad network better than anyone I know and probably has some great resources for you. I hope that helps!

      • Mike Poynton

        TY, Nichole. You’re the best!

  • Dan Erickson

    All this is good if you have enough followers.