Why you’re struggling with ROI



Touching on my first piece here at Memeburn, I wanted to share with you a little something that I have been thinking about since my first post. The measurement of return on investment (ROI) in social is one that can be measured when you begin to understand and produce ROI-related material. Sound simple enough? Well, it is.

Let’s say there are 21 to 22 working days in a month. Let’s say you, as a brand, produce 42 to 44 pieces (two a day) of social media related content (not mentioning the weekend content when you pretend to have a life). Let’s say that out of those 42 to 44, 50% are focused on your brand’s product. Now, one can argue that all content produced by a brand, by default, are product focused. Well, in social media, you’re wrong. And that’s just the start.

Simply producing content about the products your brand has to offer on Facebook has no bearing on your sales. There, I said it. It’s what we’re all thinking, I’m just saying it. Analysing your brand’s revenue over the time your brand was running a related social media campaign is not good enough to assume that the increase in said revenue was directly related to the social media campaign. It’s more than likely that the main driving force behind the increase in sales was the result of an above the line campaign, be it TV, a great radio advert or simply better below the line marketing and in-store discoverability or promotions.

I’m not saying it can’t happen, but no brand I know simply runs a social media communication campaign and hopes for a ROI without additional marketing channels picking up the slack, so to speak. Social media campaigns are executed to drive awareness and awareness does not directly equate to sales. It’s a fact.

Now that I’ve crapped in your proverbial cereal bowl, how do we fix it? Well, if you can cast your mind back to my first post, you’ll remember the element of “context” I raised in the latter part of the post. Well, now’s the time to start finding ways to create that context and the first way of doing it is by simply understanding what you’re doing with the content that you have at your disposal. Separate your content; know the distinction between basic brand messaging and what should be driving sales. Without a call to action – be it to buy, redeem or collect in real-life – there’s no way of truly measuring the monetary ROI of your efforts.

Facebook released deals last year and failed. Why? Because brands were too busy content marketing and obsessing over likes. Deals disappeared because of the lack of uptake as well as the few lesser-mentioned fundamental issues with the product itself. Now, as the focus on social media for brands has increased, so has the amount of money brands are spending in the space. Brands are doing their best to prove that ROI and are spending money on things like online stores and the more intrinsic elements like creative and media spend behind promoted posts. In reaction to the uptake and increase in spend, so brands are now beginning to wonder; where’s the return? The value? The cheese? Well, let’s step back for a second here. Creating a beautiful cover page for your brand on Facebook… is not going to sell more of your product. It just isn’t.

Promoting your posts is not going to produce a return on investment either. Why is funneling – a basic marketing practise to ease purchase – not being used?


Facebook deals’ shelf-life was quickly negated by a pivoting of the product into what is now known as Facebook offers. It seems like the service was cleaned up and re-released into the Facebook marketing arena with a better understanding of what brands want from personalised discounts and redeemable coupons with their customers in mind. The uptake, well, from reputable sources, the adoption from brands in emerging markets like South Africa has been slow – snail-paced, to be correct.

But why aren’t brands using it? It works in the same way as promoted posts and the measurability of the offers is as accurate as handing out coupons in a shopping mall. What more could a brand want than seeing digital based customer funnelled into a point of purchase? Fine. I wouldn’t recommend a brand use the offers functionality for every post, nor would I recommend they use it more than twice a week or ever, depending on your brand, but if ROI is what you’re looking for, why aren’t brands using modules like this more? It costs less, people! It costs less than spending large amounts of money behind driving likes and reach. Less marketing, less effort, all for a more measurable return. Sounds like a win to me.


But it shouldn’t stop there and if you’re like most early adopters and are sick of Facebook’s do-whatever-we-like-attitude, then build your own. Yes, build your own. It’s relatively easy creating the ability to redeem discounts and coupons for in-store-purchases online. Integrating a system like that takes time and sure, when you’re a huge fast moving consumer goods brand, ensuring it works at point of sale maybe be harder, but it resonates with the fact that people are expecting too much from services they can’t necessarily control – like Facebook. Bring it home. Create your own redeemable discounts and couponing service on your website. Better yet, start with mobile. Then execute in store.

Train your staff and close the circle. When you leave nothing to chance and you’re doing it better than a social network built for people, not businesses, you can then keep punting your intrinsic messaging and not have to worry about working out the ROI of a like.



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