How to Measure Social Media ROI in Affiliate Marketing

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Are your social media efforts actually helping your bottom line?

This type of question is not limited to social media marketing, as it applies to the entire marketing industry.

What should you spend your time and money on to sell your affiliate offers?

No matter what side you’re on – publisher, network, or advertiser – the questions associated with tracking marketing channels, customer behavior, social media marketing measurement, and sales remain the same.

Related: Advertisers vs Publishers: Difference and Relationship Status

Which part of our marketing is working and how well?

These questions bother every person who is part of the affiliate marketing world and who sees social media advertising as a great way to increase affiliate profits.

But how can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing?

How can you track your performance in social platforms?

How to measure the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns?

Want to find out?

Then start reading this article!

By the end of this post, you’ll know how to measure social media ROI, how to track ROI, which are the best ROI metrics for marketing pros, and how learning to check Facebook ROI can really have an amazing impact on your social media business objectives.


Let’s go!

Tracking Social Traffic and ROI for Affiliates

As an affiliate, you may think that global brands have a decent understanding of their social media marketing strategy and its return on investment (ROI.)

You think they all probably know how to measure ROI of social media, understanding the complexity of measuring social media impact.

tape measure

However, a Gallup survey has shown that only 7% of Chief Marketing Officers said they understood the value of their efforts with social media marketing.

This means a lot of people out there have no idea of their social media results, and probably fail to evaluate social marketing metrics such as Facebook ROI.

Determining ROI: Why is it so Difficult to Measure?

Measuring social media ROI.

What’s it all about?

Return on investment – abbreviated ROI – is a profitability ratio.

What is social media ROI?

How to calculate social media ROI?

Want the social media ROI formula, don’t you?

It’s simple!

In the case of marketing campaigns, here’s how to measure ROI on social media:

Divide the net profit by the total cost of a campaign.

ROI is expressed as a percentage.

This means you have to multiply that result by 100 to get your ROI.

That’s it!

That’s how to measure social media ROI, getting to own social media value like a pro.

The calculation sounds easy enough.

relaxed man

However, in the arena of online marketing, figuring out social media marketing ROI is not gonna be that straightforward.

Even though we may know how to craft an effective post, tracking a social customer from the first engagement all the way to a sale is challenging.

Tagging and tracking affiliate links can help improve the landscape, but it doesn’t solve all the issues.

With the exception of Instagram and Snapchat, social posts have individual links and can be tagged.

However, data still becomes disconnected along the path to the sale.

Links lose their parameters, users view a website on a smartphone but make the purchase on a laptop hours later when they arrive home, mobile apps don’t necessarily pass the referrer to the website, a non-secure URL fails to pass on information to an HTTPS page, etc.

In a past survey of marketing professionals, it was revealed that 88 percent said they were not confident they could accurately measure their ROI.

What makes it so difficult to measure ROI?

It’s certainly not a lack of data.

We have many metrics for social media and follower engagement:

Follower count, likes, shares, hearts, comments and retweets all help to show us which content is popular.

We want to understand such things as the best time of day to post, the ideal social channels that connect with our target audience, and what content resonates best with followers.

Can We Truly Measure the ROI of Social Media?

Yes, we can indeed measure the ROI of social media, but it’s complicated.

In fact, the ability to quantify social media return on investment is a fine art.

Even so, it’s one of the key metrics for social media advertising success.

There are different types of social media posts:

Paid, organic, and earned.

You can only tag and track online properties that you control.

This means the type of post influences the measurement method.

Paid social media posts are those we are spending money on to get more engagement, views, or website traffic.

They have an ad budget, even though it can be small.

Organic posts, also known as earned or free posts, have no advertising dollars behind them.

They gain engagement based on their content only.

Finally, earned posts are those that others post about your products or brand.

Sometimes, these are user-generated content.

However, they could also be images taken from a brand’s website and reposted by customers or fans on social media channels.

The type of post matters because we want to tag and track the posts, which really is how to measure social media success.

Tagging means adding some variables to the posts’ links or using a third-party tracking tagging tool to obtain more information about the customer journey.

For example, we can tag a URL to distinguish clicks that came from Twitter as opposed to Facebook or YouTube, or paid posts versus organic posts.

For obvious reasons, we can only tag the posts we own – the paid and owned versions.

How do we measure the shared content?

This is where it becomes more complicated.

worried man

Social media posts created and shared by others also factor into the value of social media marketing.

For earned posts, we should go with correlation.

What that means is we are going to look for an increase in website traffic over a period and compare it to post engagement to see the effect it had on website visits.

Taking other data we know about our social customers, such as average time to buy and average transaction value, we will be able to estimate the ROI in social media of an earned post.

The final goal?

To improve ROI, obviously!

Social Media Campaigns: What’s the Goal?

Any marketing campaign, including a social media campaign, should have a defined goal.

I’ve watched many campaigns fail because the expectations were not set at the beginning.

There may be more than one goal.

Defining what counts as a social media conversion helps define what we are going to measure to understand our ROI in social media marketing.

Typically, most of us want sales that directly translate into a trackable sale with a defined amount.

Indeed, most people see sales as the social media campaign metrics that matter the most.

In fact, affiliate marketers are likely to define a goal as a sale.

However, there are more considerations to any marketing campaign.

For example, what is the lifetime value of a new social media follower?

Even though they have not purchased (yet) we can track them and learn about other metrics such as their decision process and length of their consideration phase.

What percentage of social media followers convert to become email newsletter subscribers?

After that, what percentage of them open the emails?

And how much do they actually spend?

Do these numbers differ depending on what social channel the follower is on?

Check some factors and metrics to measure social media success when evaluating a social media strategy:

  • Post reach
  • Increase in web traffic
  • Leads
  • Engagement – shares and likes
  • New followers
  • Newsletter signups
  • Downloads
  • Video views
  • Purchases

Moreover, there are soft goals – apart from ROI goals – that affiliates should consider.

Social media marketing can help discover customer insights such as new products they’d like to see or website usability.

Social media can help find new customers and boost customer engagement.

It can also increase your brand’s awareness and name recognition.

How to know what to look for?

Become an expert in social media metrics, that’s how!

confident man

For example, one of my websites has a few goals.

The first is to get newsletter signups.

Other goals include bringing new users to the cyber security job board affiliate program, selling low-cost field guides, and increasing the number of YouTube subscribers.

For the field guides, we can figure out the measurable ROI based on total sales divided by advertising dollars, the cost of creating media for organic promotions, and then the costs of our other promotions.

The careers affiliate program is tougher to work with because the advertiser is also running an email remarketing campaign.

Although I don’t pay for those emails, they certainly influence the effectiveness of my efforts and reduce costs.

The YouTube channel has AdSense ads so (eventual) profits factor into the profits.

Our newsletter signups have no dollar value until they decide to buy a field guide or interact with the affiliate program.

The Value of Increased Website Traffic

Clicks from social media channels drive traffic to your website.

That’s got tremendous value, even if the customer hasn’t yet made a purchase.

Publishers can use social media to generate two-way conversations with customers.

Many shoppers turn to social media for customer service.

They don’t want to place a phone call in fear of being trapped in a phone tree or call center.

call center

Many websites don’t have a support number.

If they do, many times it is not live 24/7.

Social media is a convenient customer service tool.

I frequently turn to Twitter (no, it’s not dead yet!) when I have a support question.

Depending on the analytics tool you are using and other components of your marketing campaign, you’ll have to make a business decision for your affiliate marketing.

Which click is credited with the sale?

Old school eCommerce typically credits the sale to the last click.

Meaning, if a customer visits the website from an organic search, signs up for the newsletter, and then later buys based on a click from the newsletter.

Then that last click is credited with making the sale.

It would be said that the newsletter was more effective than the organic click.

A savvy marketer knows that both are important and the shopper needs multiple clicks to buy.

Tracking gives us this type of data!

How do I know they are the same user as someone who visited earlier today?

If it’s a paid social campaign, the users are logged into a social media account!

How Can We Be More Productive as Affiliates?

Remember your website’s role in all of this!

Learn More: How to Monetize Your Website and Earn Money (7 Hacks)

Use individual pages for offers.

Your website’s homepage is going to be the most landed on or the most linked-to page.

Add custom landing pages for offers.

This increases the likelihood of making a sale.

The fewer clicks to make the purchase or to send the user to the advertisers’ purchase page, the more likely the user is to purchase.

credit card

Custom landing pages also give you the opportunity to add customer content supporting the product or service.

Try adding a video to increase conversions.

Add social media pixels for tracking, along with third-party analytics tools.

This will track users as they enter your website, their path through, and where they leave.

This process is crucial for you to see the ROI of social media increase to the max.

Be mindful of page loading speed when adding these trackers.

A slow loading website is a big negative for search engine optimization.

Related: How to Write SEO-Friendly Content in 2017 (A Step by Step Guide)

It’s helpful to work on something you enjoy or are knowledgeable about.

Turning a hobby into a full-time job that pays well as an affiliate is possible!

Learn More: Affiliate Marketing Success Stories You Should Know

It takes dedication and perseverance.

Tagging and tracking social media posts and all your other marketing channels will help you understand what’s working and what’s not.

That way, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the offers that work best for your audience!

This really is how you can start measuring return on investment to improve your global performance and get those social media marketing results you’re yearning for!


That’s it!

You’ve learned what is ROI in social media, how to measure ROI in social media, and I’m sure that you now understand the crucial importance of assimilating these return on investment metrics to scale up and optimize your affiliate marketing campaigns.

ROI for social media really is an amazingly relevant factor to take into account so it’s imperative that you not only check this post but study this topic more thoroughly in the near future.

If you are serious about making affiliate marketing a full-time venture or want to make more money from a part-time gig, you should also remember to establish clear goals so that you can succeed.

successful man

Review your analytics on a regular basis, at least weekly, to see what’s working for your marketing efforts.

I hope this article is gonna allow you to take your social media investment to a new level.

Measure social media ROI and you shall succeed in the business like the best of them!