As marketers we often fall into the trap of defining social media return on investment (ROI) in overly simplistic terms – numbers of interactions, click through rates and sales.

Of course, these are in many ways the most important factors, as we want to drive user engagement and ultimately the bottom line of our business.

The problem with this approach though is that we fail to look at the layered data each campaign generates we lose vital information and insights about our relationship with our customers.

Data is the key to improving your ROI

Imagine we have a campaign running two adverts. Each Advert is trying to generate more sales of our new range of winter coats aimed at 25-34 year olds.

Our hypothetical advert A which is more product focused and features our brunette model.

Advert A features a brunette model wearing one of the dresses and focuses very much on the product.

Our hypothetical advert B which is more lifestyle focused and features a blonde model.


Advert B features a blonde model wearing the same dress but in a more lifestyle setting.

All other copy, colouring and placements are equal between advert A and advert B.

Advert A has 3000 impressions, generating 200 clicks and 500 likes over the course of a month.

Advert B has 3000 impressions, generating 250 clicks and 600 likes over the course of a month.

A or B?

Prima facie, advert B is the clear winner with a significantly higher number of clicks and likes over the course of the month. So the company running the campaign starts removes advert B in favour of another variation using a blonde model and changes creative to focus on lifestyle imagery.

This is a mistake. Without the context of the data this simplistic approach can lead to the wrong decision being made for your target demographics.

This is where our contextual insights comes in and can start to deliver genuine insights that go beyond top-level reporting.

Advert A generated less impressions but more likes and clicks from our target age range of women aged 18-24.

Advert A generated more leads spending time on the actual website than advert B – meaning that Advert A generated a higher level of consideration.

Advert A generated more comments and questions on our Facebook page regarding prices, shipping, returns and sizing than advert B – meaning Advert A generated more purchase intent.

And while advert B generated more clicks and likes, it transpired that  these came from older demographics, meaning that advert B was targeting the wrong audience

Context becomes the key to developing actionable insights

In our hypothetical example it is only once we start looking deeper into the data that we are able to get a true understanding of what our target demographics behaviour will be. From this point we are more accurately able to extrapolate key information to shape our campaigns.

Advert A demonstrated that our target demographic preferred the brunette model to the blonde model. The advert generated higher levels of engagement and sales than the corresponding blonde model despite having lower statistical engagement.

Insights like these are not just limited to improving Social Media performance. The insights derived from advert A and B can be used to improve all advertising – both online and offline.

Through this approach, not only can you use Social Media to drive marketing and business performance. But you can gain invaluable insights as to what content, creative and messaging resonates best amongst your target audiences.

Generating improved audience personas

Using contextual analytics enables you to generate better insights about your customers. Their desires, likes and needs as people.

This goes far beyond demographics and allows you to develop campaigns that co-align with how your customers think, feel and act towards your brand.

Contextual analysis can be used to identify:

  • Who your customers are, what their interests are and where they are.
  • How they interact with your brand and how you can appeal to their needs.
  • Why they interact with your brand and why they buy from you.

More data-driven insights around your customers will allow you to scale your business performance, safe in the knowledge that the ads, messages and creative you’re putting in front of them were created using a “winning formula” for success.

The key to success is to use a holistic approach to your campaign

Improving your campaign and ad performance means utilising all the available data at your disposal.

By using contextual analytics on your existing data, you can:

Define your ROI – you must clearly define all forms of ROI not just sales. We must analyse the value that you’re getting from your Social Media ads, particularly those that aren’t actively driving sales or conversions.

Adding as much context to this data can help you understand the impact your ads are having amongst your target audience. And the more you can understand about your audience through your Social Media data, the more value it then has.

Discover your audience – contextual analysis allows you to understand how your ads have performed against a number of different audiences. This gets into the whos, hows, and whys of what makes your ads successful and how you can maximise this success across your different audience segments.

Scale costs – contextual analysis allows you to closely define your costs and to define scalability of your campaigns much more accurately. Increasing your bottom line.

By analysing all the available data holistically Social Acumen’s contextual analytics models can increase the effectiveness of your social media campaigns, increase your return on investment and help you build scalable social campaigns that better engage with your audiences.

For more information why not get in touch with us today.