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[INTERVIEW SERIES] What Does Social ROI Mean To You: Ben Rolling

At Simply Measured, we’re constantly working with businesses and agencies to help them measure, analyze, and improve their social media efforts.

One of the biggest challenges for anyone working in the social space is setting a standard for how you quantify Social ROI (Return on Investment). In some cases, Social ROI is a fluid concept. In others, it’s directly based on bottom line sales.

We’ve been interviewing industry leaders from the digital marketing space to find out how they quantify and measure Social ROI.

ben_rolling-thumb-150x150Ben Rolling is the VP of Product and Development at AEG Digital Media, where he works with some of the largest brands in the world to enable seamless, broadcast-quality live events and TV Everywhere services that allow broadcasters to not only showcase programming, but engage users in the experience.

Rolling and his team oversee live branded content and combine it with AEGDM proprietary software, boosting engagement around brands before, during and after their live events.

I spent some time talking to Rolling about what Social ROI means at AEG.

What is Social ROI? What does it mean to you?

My responses may differ from other people you speak to.  My primary goal around social ROI and analytics are to add value to the live online events that we produce for our clients.  It’s not our brand that we measure, it’s the client’s.

From our clients’ perspective, this seems to vary.  Everybody wants a number to point to, like a Nielsen rating or a “total impressions,” but the most realistic social media managers I’ve worked with take a far closer look at context and intent.  While it looks the same on paper, gaining 30% more twitter followers because you bribed them with a coupon isn’t as good as gaining 30% more followers with desirable and topical content posts.  If you can share something real about the brand and get positive community support, isn’t that more valuable to a brand than ten times as many new followers that did it for a tiny prize?

What do you do at AEG to measure an analyze the ROI of social programs?

The primary success indicator of a social campaign for us is how many users it drives to a live branded event, and how long each user spends on the webcast.  The view duration difference between each social effort can indicate the quality of the audience gained by it, and the total number of viewers can indicate the success of the reach.  The social volume during the event can also indicate the level of success for the event as well, but with the data leading up to the event combined with the video view data we can determine where we succeeded and where we failed with the campaign so that we can improve in the future.

 What would make measuring Social ROI easier?

I think it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.  We can measure sentiment with keywords, but how does it change overall brand sentiment?  Are a hundred positive tweets about a coupon as valuable as a hundred positive tweets about a good technical support experience with your company?

Having so much data makes it easy to justify anything if it’s used carelessly.  Good use of the data should use the scientific method.  Hypothesize, test and measure.  Conclusions can be drawn and improvements made.

Follow @SimplyMeasured on Twitter as we interview more industry leaders to get their take on Social ROI, and take a tour of how social reporting can help you quantify your programs and campaigns.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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