An ongoing criticism of social media marketing is that it offers an uncertain ROI. However, measuring ROI has always been a central challenge for marketers. Whether you work in marketing or not, you have probably heard some variation of the often quoted adage, "Only half of marketing works. The problem is, we don't know which half." Identifying which marketing efforts are the most effective has long been a significant hurdle for marketers, inhibiting our ability to optimize (or justify) our efforts.
Despite the ongoing concerns when it comes to social media ROI, this uncertainty is much more of an issue when it comes to traditional advertising channels such as television, radio and print ads. The predominant method of evaluating these channels - monitoring sales trends and trying to match them to recent ad campaigns - is an imprecise science at best. In fact, social media and other forms of online advertising finally change that. Digital marketing channels empower marketers with the best opportunity we have ever had to accurately track and identify what is working and what isn't. We can now track site visits, click-through rates, calls to action and many other online activities related to our marketing efforts. Meanwhile, search engine advertising platforms such as Google Adwords deliver extremely granular reporting while site analytics tools and A/B testing software enable marketers to optimize their efforts even further.
However, many marketers are hesitant to use these tools because they have grown comfortable with the "spray and pray" approach. If they don't know which of their efforts are effective, then they can't be held accountable if things aren't going well. However, it is critical to overcome this complacency and utilize the many resources now available in order to ensure long-term success for your company.