Determining ROI on Viral Video and Social Media Marketing

Return on investment (ROI) for viral video and social media marketing is difficult to determine since the benefits of viral and social media marketing are not always quantifiable. However, we can measure whether a campaign’s ROI is positive by making a realistic assessment of costs upfront and establishing well-defined goals.

The first step in determining ROI for viral video and social media marketing is defining achievable goals for the campaign. The following are achievable goals for viral video and social media marketing:

• Increase subscribers, fans, followers: A short and long-term goal to create an ongoing base of consumers and influencers on social networking sites.

• Achieve desired video views: The number of desired views is based on the approach, investment and channels used for distribution. Decide how many targeted, national, international views are required to achieve what percentage of conversions.

• Increase website traffic: Engage your subscribers, fans, followers via social networking and videos enough to make them want to visit your company website and learn more about you.

• Increase consumer engagement and interaction: A long-term goal that maximizes time spent with your brand and results in increased sales.

• Increase conversions: After converting viewers, decide what needs to be done to increase conversions. Specify what percentage of the total views will take the desired action. Also, know converter behavior and attitudes.

• Reduce marketing costs: Viral marketing can be a more cost effective alternative in the short and long term as content remains on the web and your message is shared.

• Increase bottom line sales: The ultimate goal for most businesses.

Once you have defined campaign expectations you can determine the budget necessary and what tactics you will use to achieve those goals.

On social networks and video sharing sites such as YouTube, users’ online lives collide with their real lives when videos, posts and tweets appeal to them. Their attention is generally focused and receptive because they are choosing to watch (opting in), increasing the likelihood of message retention and enhancing the value of the marketing content. The personal nature of video and social media marketing makes for a more qualitative assessment in terms of ROI. To maximize this advantage as a marketer, define the tactics you will use to achieve the goals. These tactics should include:

• Create and promote viral content.

• Build relationships through engagement.

• Expand online presence in terms of buzz/pages.

Another option within your tactics to be considered is paid media vs. earned consumer attention. Paid offers the value of an automatic view guarantee and paid seeding can often help build a viral campaign. In cases where the goal is to reach a highly specified target, paid seeding can be a huge asset in accomplishing this goal. Purely organic viral marketing requires an ample amount of time researching targeted channels within social networks and sharing sites. Your budget must include paid media costs if you want to venture into that marketing avenue, and your budget must include the cost of someone’s time if you are going the purely organic route.

Once you have implemented your viral video and social media marketing campaign, keep track of whether your goals are being achieved via analytics and other monitoring tools. After your campaign has concluded, or has been going on for a designated amount of time, you can simply ask, “did we reach our goals?” If the answer is “yes” and your goals, by design, exceeded your investment, then you will have earned positive ROI.