Peeling the Curtain Behind Click-Through Rates For Social Channels

"Who among this audience can be converted into a customer?" For a growing number of PR pros, it’s the $64,000 question, particularly when it comes to how to valuate social media.

Mark Tullio

Mark Tullio

Click-through rates continue to be the go-to metric for communicators grappling with social media ROI. However, Mark Tullio, VP of worldwide marketing for device networking company Lantronix Inc., thinks that click-through rates, while a legitimate tool, just scratch the surface. Tullio will participate in the “How to Measure and Communicate Social Media ROI” session at PR News’ Digital PR Summit, which takes place Oct. 16 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. In this Q&A Tullio provides a previews of what he has in store for the session.

PR News: What are some of the nascent and more effective ways to measure social media ROI?

Mark Tullio: What you measure and how you measure social media ROI varies, and should vary, based on your specific objectives. Key performance indicators for one company may be irrelevant for another. So “effectiveness” is a relevant term. Our view is, social media has to significantly influence a sale, or directly drive a sale—so we measure “Brand Interactions.” (1) Who is interacting with our brand, why and how. (2) Who among this audience is or can be converted to an influencer and evangelist? And (3) Who among this audience can be converted into a customer? Each of these has sub-KPIs that we track and measure.

PR News: Why do a lot of PR agencies tend to rely on click-through rates to measure social media and fail to account for  outcomes?

Tullio: They rely on click-through [rates] because they are easy measure; it’s black and white. Typically, you are starting with a baseline of zero, so it’s easy to show “success.” [But] there’s some value to click-through [rates]. If they’re not engaging in “valuable activity” (e.g., downloads, purchases, registrations, referrals) then there is something wrong with your initial targeting, your content or campaign. It is the job of the client to drive measurement and agency accountability.

PR News: What are some of the metrics on social media ROI that can prove to the C-suite that social media has inherent value?

Tullio: The most important thing is to manage expectations of the C-suite before rolling out a campaign and what should and shouldn’t be expected from social media. Second, social media metrics need to be looked at in the context of an overall, integrated campaign, not just by themselves. Ultimately, the campaigns with social media integration must to drive sales, or at least increase the sales pipeline, more so than those campaigns without it.

To register for PR News’ Digital PR Summit, please click here.

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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