How to demonstrate social media ROI by using the stone-cold information that clients need

You’ll be asked the same question whether you’re a social media manager for a company or an agency that has multiple clients on social media: What is our social media ROI?

Your boss or client will ask you about the return on investment (ROI) when they want to know: “What am I getting for the money that I spent on you and on the social media channels?”

Don’t panic if you find yourself scrolling through the internet looking for answers to this question. We will quickly look at different methods to show your social media ROI.

How do you calculate social media ROI?

Let’s first make sure that we use the same terms definition.

What is social media ROI?

The return on investment (or social media ROI) is the amount of money you get from investing in social media.

Social media ROI, or simply put, is how you can show that your social media marketing efforts have been worthwhile. You can show your clients or company that all resources spent on a social media campaign, advertisement, etc. were worth it if you have the hard data. It was well worth it.

Social media ROI, on the other hand, can show that you did not get as much as you put in. You can take the social media metrics and use them to your advantage next time.

How to calculate the ROI of social media

This is the most basic formula for social media ROI.

Investment: Your total social media marketing costsProfit: What you earn from social media marketing effortsProfit/Investment x 100 = Social media ROI%

This formula can be used to calculate the ROI of paid social media campaigns which are being tracked.

Take, for example:

Investment: I spent 2,000 euros ($2,363.48) on a Facebook ad campaign.Profit: From that campaign, I got 10 customers who spent in total 7,000 euros ($8272.18).Profit/Investment x 100 = 350% ROI … or I could say I earned 5,000 euros ($5,908.70) profit after the cost of my ads.

LTV (also known by lifetime value) is a key focus for service-based brands. Because there are many years of payments, not just one purchase, but many over the years. A client who pays $5,000 per month for 10 years would have a LTV of $600,000.

When you talk about organic social media, or social media with less tangible value, things get complicated.

A marketing collaboration with an influencer may result in sales. You might have a video that you like a lot. This helped to increase sales for your company.

Social media is becoming more data-driven. We need to do much more than manage channels or guesstimate our success.

How can you prove your social media ROI and maximize its potential?

1. Social media KPIs

Only 28% of companies believe they can attribute business results driven by social media to their value.

This is possible by setting KPIs (key performance indicator) to help you. This is crucial for keeping track of your social media spend and activities. KPIs can also be used to help you determine how social media actions are aligned with departmental and business goals.

You can identify your monetary investment in social media by attaching a dollar amount for your social media goals.

At the beginning of every project, we ask our clients to tell us what their social media goals and KPIs are.

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What should you measure?

You can usually measure with KPIs:


Let’s take a look at what these KPIs are.

Reach is the number of people who have seen your post. It can also be measured by how many shares, likes, comments and followers your post receives. This is basically any action someone takes after seeing your post. This could be a signup for the newsletter, download an ebook, or any other lead nurturing tool. Conversion is the most important KPI. This refers to the number of clicks on your post and the subsequent sales that are made by those who see it.

Conversions and leads can easily prove social media ROI. It is however more difficult to prove ROI on reach or engagement.

What happens next after your post gets a lot of engagement on Facebook? Your Instagram Reel received tons of views… but how does that translate into dollar value for you?

These cannot be calculated with 100% certainty.

However, vanity metrics such as Instagram Reel Views are still very useful in getting an overall picture of the popularity of your campaigns. You can use vanity metrics to influence future content and social-media decisions. When we produce monthly reports, clients love to see overviews of all their social media metrics.

Tip: Social media ROI

You should ensure that you have Facebook retargeting properly set up.

Facebook retargeting is also known as remarketing. This means that if someone interacts online with your brand but doesn’t convert, they will be able to see your products or company when they log back in to Facebook.

2. Install tracking pixels

Conversions are the word that will bring a smile to your clients’ faces.

But conversion does not necessarily refer to a sale in marketing terms.

Conversion is when your client completes an action that you track in your analytics panel.

A sales funnel is often longer and may require potential clients to see your brand multiple times before reaching out to you.

Different types of conversions

Any of these could be considered a conversion:

Subscribe to your newsletterComplete a contact formDownloading an ebookAdding a product/service to the basket

How can you tell if your social media leads are converting? Install a tracking pixel.

Tracking pixels allow you to assign tangible and measurable actions to your social media followers. When a social media user completes an action, you will be notified via your ads panel.

On Facebook

It is very easy to install a Facebook pixel. Simply embed a line code on your website that connects to your advertising interface.

Once the pixel is installed, it will track conversions, retention and LTV for the client.

facebook pixel

Follow us on Twitter

By selecting from the following, you can install tracking pixels to Twitter.

Universal website tag: A single code snippet that can be placed across your entire website to track multiple site actions or conversionsSingle-event website tag: A unique snippet of code that can be used to track a single website conversion on your website

The Universal Website Tag is a popular choice for advertisers. It simplifies the tagging process, and allows you to track a user’s journey across all your websites.

tracking on twitter for social media roi


LinkedIn allows you to do the exact same thing.

It is easy to prove social media ROI on the platform by linking ads to conversions, even those who have just seen your ad.

LinkedIn Metrics: How well do you know these?

It is possible to see the results of your ads on your website. This includes content downloads and sign-ups.

linkedin tracking insights for social media roi

LinkedIn Insight Tag, a small piece of JavaScript code that allows conversion tracking to work, is lightweight. The LinkedIn Insight Tag can be installed on your website in just a few seconds. It is only necessary to do this once.

install the insights tag on linkedin

We have deep dives into metrics that will give you more insight into which metrics to track:

Facebook metricsInstagram metricsLinkedIn metricsTwitter metricsYouTube metrics

You can also read an overview of social metrics.

3. Check your costs per click

What is your CPC (cost-per-click)? This information is available for all major social media platforms. You can view the most recent campaign by going to your analytics/ad manger. This is called “cost per outcome” on Facebook because it can be used to refer to multiple actions, and not just clicks.

This simple graphic shows how much your company spent to get each action from each fan.

Real-life example

The “Keith Financial Services”, ad below, cost 0.15 Euros (.18 Cents) per click.

742 people visited the landing page via that ad. The campaign URL for that landingpage is also tracked. If I go to my Google Analytics panel I can see which 742 people visited the landing page. We also track the campaign URL. Brands that sell tangible goods will link conversions to their checkout. We can also see that there was 14,569 reach and 52,825. We are not interested in clicks for CPC.

resource center

Tip: Social media ROI

You should have unique URLs for every channel, even if they lead to the same landing pages, when you create a campaign.

This will allow you to track not only the success of your campaign, but also which networks have produced the most results.

social media roi launch

4. To prove ROI, track site traffic

Web traffic from social media campaigns could be mistakenly interpreted as direct traffic by Analytics if you aren’t careful. It will be grouped together with social traffic without any breakdown of campaigns, ads or post links.

It is important to be able see this, so that you can report on conversions and campaigns that drove traffic.

track site traffic for social media roi

Many clients approach us with a list of tracked links that they will use in their posts. This is to track their return on investment in social media.

social relationship example

How can you create a tracked link

First, create unique URLs for each link you share on social media. This will allow you to track who clicked through to your landing page, video, or e-book. You’ll be able tell where they came from.

Google Campaigns URL Builder is a free tool that allows you to create unique URLs. Fill out the basic details of your campaign. Below is an example of how it looks:

example of unique url for social media tracking

Once you have done this, you will be given a unique URL that you can use on your social media channel. It will look something like the following:

example of campaign url

You have the option to convert the URL into a shorter link, as you can see. This URL can be used for any related social media promotion you do for the channel.

As part of your social media ROI, you’ll be able track conversions accurately.

Keep track of the URLs you create so that you can use them in future posts. This could be done via a Drive sheet.

You can also use Agorapulse UTM Tracking to skip this extra step. Agorapulse UTM tracking keeps track of your links, making it easy to prove ROI.

Three Case Studies on Social Media ROI to Light the Fire under You

UTM tracking by gorapulse

Create your post using Agorapulse as usual, then turn on UTM tracking. To shorten your link, you can also use Bitly’s integration

Agorapulse users have the option to add a Bitly account for each network they use.

example of agorapulse utm tracking

You can choose whether to input your values (text), or let Agorapulse populate them (Dynamic). If you want to share to multiple networks simultaneously, choose Dynamic. This will allow you to select the right social network, medium and profile to add to your tag.

utm tracking

UTM tracking allows you to track the customer’s life cycle.

You can see, for example, if your links are being followed by a lot of people. This could indicate that they have been able to add an item to their cart, but then abandon it. The data will allow you to make conclusions about why.

You can view individual campaign results in Google Analytics if you have your tracking link set up correctly.

Learn how to use Agorapulse UTM tracking code.

5. Social media ROI reporting should be easy to understand

It is one thing to know that you have a great social media ROI. It is not easy to prove your investment in social networks, measure your results, and present it.

Agencies often find social media reporting difficult. It can take hours to collect social media statistics from different channels and pull out the KPIs.

A recent survey on social media found that 31% of marketers spend more than four hours per week on reports than the industry average of just four. This is just one set of reports.

It takes just 5 minutes to collect the data using the built-in Agorapulse report system.

My experience shows that agency clients need clear, concise reporting to help them manage their channels. An overview of what you did, how it went, and what failed.

What should you include in a basic social-media report?

A basic Agorapulse report includes the following metrics

Account growthAudience demographicsImpressionsContent overviewEngagementCommunity managementBest times to publish

The Agorapulse power report offers a lot more options. These can be accessed by clicking the Create a Report tab at the top of your dashboard. These reports are great for creating multiple reports across multiple channels, and they provide deep dives into your social network performance.

select your report for social media

All this is possible with a channel-by-channel Individual Report

social media channel reports by agorapulse

Let’s take a look at some specifics about social media ROI available in Agorapulse reports.

How to Create Power Reports that Shine

ROI Calculator

Agorapulse offers an ROI calculator. These tools can be used to measure social media ROI.

Simply enter your data, and the calculator will calculate your ROI for your personalized report.

roi calculator

Connect your Ad Accounts

Agorapulse allows you to connect your ad account. This allows you monitor comments and view stats and results.

Simply enter your Facebook/Instagram advertising token and link it with your profile.

Agorapulse’s super-advanced feature allows multiple admins to connect their ad tokens, and then select another ad account. The panel can then fetch comments under ads using different ad tokens or ad accounts. Each user has the ability to view and modify other users’ ad settings, but they cannot make any changes unless they are granted an admin role.

Prove volume of work

Proving the content volume is an important part of showing ROI to clients or bosses.

This is clearly highlighted by sending a monthly report.

In June, for example, 202 tweets had been published by one of our clients.

overview of global content performance

You can include the speed and replies to reports. This will allow brands to track the amount of resources used on social media.

Have a look at Agorapulse Power Reports

Compare time frames

It is helpful to compare timeframes when discussing social media ROI.

Here are some examples: July 2021 results with an agency vs. the July 2020 results without an agency. Or Christmas campaigns 2021 vs. 2020.

Agorapulse makes it easy to compare any time period using its reporting option, which is shown below.

example of comparing time frames for a social media report

Benchmark against competitors

Contentworks has many clients in the financial space. They are fiercely competitive. Agorapulse can help them show how they compare to their competitors. Although this isn’t specifically about ROI, clients love seeing tangible improvements in this area.

example of competitive analysis

These are just a few of the many great social media ROI tools available in Agorapulse. They can also be scheduled to be sent to clients each month. It takes about five minutes to create reports that are well-written, easy to understand, and concise.

Tip: Social media ROI

It’s a great idea to send clients regular reporting monthly in order to keep them informed and confident that your social media ROI is sound. You can also send your own conclusions by email.

The top content and most clicked posts could be the basis of future content and ad spending for each social network.

A solid social media ROI is not only beneficial for a brand. As a social media manager, or agency, it can benefit you.

You can have the satisfaction of a campaign that is successful, great customer service, and talented writers and designers. You won’t know how good you are without it.

What is the point of proving social media ROI?

This question was my first attempt at being a social media manager in 2012. Because they are creatives, social media managers often resist focusing on ROI. They create content for channels, answer fans, follow trends and coordinate designs.

They aren’t usually data analysts.

Social media data analysts are a relatively new role and is usually reserved for large companies.

As the director of Contentworks Agency I am aware that brands are investing in social media more than ever. They want to know how much it costs to hire an agency, design, produce videos and content, before they consider advertising spend.

58% of marketers believe they must prove social media ROI to get approval for future spending. However, only 37% of those who are most successful are confident in this calculation. 72% of the most successful companies calculate the ROI of their content marketing, compared to 22%.

What we learned about social media ROI

Clients should feel confident that their social media efforts have paid off. Some clients want to dig deeper to find out what’s working well and what’s not.

Even if your social media strategy is mostly organic, it’s important to measure social media ROI.

Are you ready to take full control of your social media channels and increase your social media ROI? Register for a free demo.