This is one of those “top view” big picture type articles designed  to help you think a little differently about the question of predicting, planning for and delivering ROI for online video and social media campaigns. Return on investment is something that hits every marketing director, brand manager, product manager, social media manager and viral marketing agency square in the face at some point. And if you’ve ever been hit square in the face, you know that it hurts… and it’s hard to cover up.

With little or no thought given to how they will predict, identify and measure ROI, many marketers wait until after a campaign has been launched or is over to evaluate the results. So, instead of trying to be super clever with words, I made an animated video especially for this ReelSEO article to illustrate my point in an entertaining way (content marketing). Far too many video and social media conversations and campaigns go something like this:

Many brands and businesses are buying into online video and social media like they’re buying a new car. When you buy a new car you don’t usually think in terms of specifically where you will go in the car over the next year and what you will accomplish in the car that will offset your investment. You typically buy a new car based on how it looks, how it drives, how much it costs and in some cases… what your friends are driving.

We should all be looking at online video and social media marketing more like we would look at buying a tractor or a utility vehicle. Will this purchase get the job done? I need to move X number of things every day so I’m going to buy a vehicle that can get that done. And before you even get that far you have to know why you want to move X number of things every day. Otherwise, you’re just buying new tools to move things around and while you may look really busy doing it, you may not be accomplishing anything of value.

What’s The Best Way To Determine ROI?

The most logical and effective way to determine ROI for an online video and social media marketing campaign, tracking and measurement tools aside, is to predict a favorable return on investment prior to beginning your campaign – not halfway through and definitely not after the campaign is over.

  1. Establish goals that, if reached, will generate a return that will exceed your investment.
  2. Assign a budget (your investment) that is less than your predicted return.
  3. Select online video and social media tactics that will achieve the goals.

This way, when all is said and done, you will simply ask “did we reach our goals?” If the answer is yes and your goals, by design, generated returns that exceeded your investment, then you will have achieved a return on your investment!