The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media

Research Report: The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media

Author: Susan Etlinger

Publication Date: July 24, 2012


Today, customers move constantly between the online and offline worlds, using a range of devices — such as smartphones and tablets — that didn’t exist a few short years ago. Thousands of applications and dozens of social media platforms collect and transmit an unprecedented amount of structured and unstructured data, and API changes are a fact of life. The volatility of social data and the pace of change mean that tried-and-true measurement methods are no longer enough. Social data is different. The old rules don’t apply.

Although many organizations have established formalized social media programs, the vast majority — 75% — still lack a holistic measurement strategy. Web analytics; social media monitoring; social platforms; and tool, application, and ecommerce providers have rushed to fill the gaps, while analysts at brands and agencies have borrowed accepted methodologies from adjacent disciplines to address the unique challenges and pitfalls of social data.

As social media matures, new approaches to social media measurement will emerge to provide businesses with a greater level of insight, but the days of certainty (if ever they existed) are behind us. As George E. P. Box, a noted statistician, famously said, “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

In our research for this report, Altimeter Group identified six primary qualitative and quantitative approaches and developed three case studies that illustrate how organizations measure the impact of social media on revenue. But while these six ingredients are consistent, the emphasis each company places on them depends on the nature of their business. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. The following pages aim to identify and describe — based on business, product, media, and customer type — the most effective “recipes” for measuring the revenue impact of social media that we have seen adopted to date.

Read the Report: The Social Media ROI Cookbook

Open Research

This research report was 100% funded by Altimeter Group and published under the principle of Open Research. The report and survey data are intended for you to read, utilize, and share with others. We ask that you provide attribution to Altimeter Group.