Think back to about 5 years ago or so when we first started getting excited about LinkedIn and the potential to generate revenue from participating in social networks. I’m speaking for myself (but many of you may have felt the same) when I say that I had no idea that my participation would pay off in the ways in which it did. At one point, LinkedIn was my second highest referral of converting traffic just after Google. Now, that’s not just traffic, that is traffic that converted into real deals in the pipeline.
So, my company decided to give me some more wiggle room to participate. My boss equated the converting traffic against my activity to that of a fire hose. The more you do, the more you get back. True, but not a very good ROI metric to play your hand on.
In fact, I struggled to put 2 and 2 together. Does this group yield better than this one? Does starting a discussion vs. participating make any difference? What if I connect with someone? Does that turn into a lead?
As Facebook and Twitter sprung up and we all leapt into action, again we struggled to wrap logical value around a tweet, re-tweet, follow, like, referral, etc. What happened after this action was performed? Was one action better than another? What could we do more of to get more people to convert?
Content and answers sprung up like daisies. Experts proclaimed they knew the answer to the impending question ‘what is the ROI of social media?’
Did we ever get our answer? Not sure. I can tell you that I figured out a way to calculate the ROI of my social media activities using a combination of tools (Google Analytics’, HubSpot and Salesforce.com) but I still have no answer to the question of what could I do more of to get more conversions…
The reason I bring this up is because I was having a conversation with Jamie Turner the other day and we started talking about mobile marketing. He just wrote a new book with co-author Jeanne Hopkins entitled ‘Go Mobile’. Now he and I both recognize that companies are fully aware of the impact of mobile marketing and the opportunities available. We also recognize that people are hesitating to participate. Why?
Most likely it’s because of the ROI. Let’s recall why so many brands were leery of social media to begin with. They knew what the impact was but just couldn’t articulate it to sell the potential internally. But the thing that got them through, the key element that allowed them to get the thumbs up to proceed was that it was seen as a no cost item.
Mobile, on the other hand, has a cost and it’s not cheap. You could dabble in Google’s AdMob which is a self-serve, location based mobile advertising tool (very cool and very easy to use) or you could build an app or you can integrate QR codes. There are many options available but very few that enable you to forecast and track on actually return.
You will never know if a particular customer sees your mobile ad then physically walks into your store and makes a purchase. The two cannot be connected – as least I have not seen this done yet. So we hesitate to participate and spend the money.
Everything in marketing has risks. Social media is perceived as being free so we participate and hope to get a return but there are risks. We are spending time there that we could be spending elsewhere. Mobile marketing is perceived to be high cost, flaky return so we hesitate to participate because we could be spending our budget on items that are solid such as CPC online campaigns.
With social media, we eventually got over ourselves and figured it out. Like me, we find a solution that works for our business to track the return. Why can’t we just take those learnings and apply them to mobile?