Measuring ROI for Paid Social Ads

One question that we hear a lot is “How do we measure the success of paid social advertising?” In this blog post we discuss how to define your goals, calculate your ROI and evaluate your results on paid social investments.

Beginning with setting your goals, we will point you in the right direction for calculating your success and giving concrete numbers to your bosses. Besides financial numbers, there are also other aspects which need to be taken into account to determine the success of your paid social campaigns. In the end, it’s about setting a baseline for success, evaluating your results, and using them to improve your paid social strategies.

Define Your Goals

Before starting a project it is essential to set your goals. To figure out what your goal is, ask questions like:

  • What is the objective of your paid advertising campaign?
  • What is your budget?
  • Does it align with your overall online marketing strategy?
  • How do you measure the success of the campaigns?

We recommend that you set SMART goals to measure your success of your paid advertising.






For example, success could be X new affiliate sign-ups within a specific time frame, or Y amount of revenue from those affiliates.

But your ability to reach your goals also depend on the factors you’re measuring and what success looks like to you. So after selecting an achievable goal, you should define and monitor KPIs that lead to your goal. Consider the following data points that help you monitor your progress:

  • Sign-ups/Followers/Likes
  • Site traffic
  • Reach
  • Leads from social
  • Revenue generated from social

Social media platforms have their own reporting available: Twitter has Twitter Analytics, and Facebook comes with Facebook Insights. Use these platform reporting tools to provide you with the essential data you need for your campaign.

Calculate Your ROI

Calculating your ROI for social media campaigns can be done in two ways. There is a financial way if your goals are set in terms of leads and/or revenue, and a non-financial way if your goals are set in terms of brand awareness. For financial goals involving leads and sales for global transactions, make sure to stay in the same currency. And if, in the end, there is no net revenue in your return, you should probably restructure your investment.

If your paid social media campaign is executed to increase brand recognition, it will be difficult to set up a financial calculation, because there are no actions a customer takes to purchase. In this case, the key is to observe those reactions of your audience and analyze the outcome.

Evaluate Results

The most challenging and important part comes with the evaluation of your actions. In addition to Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights, many social media marketers also use Google Analytics, Salesforce or some other CRM tool.

Google Analytics gives you more detailed tracking for finding on-site conversions, while Salesforce is able to implement tracking codes to your links and sort sales leads to specific social campaigns.

Tracking is essential to all your activities on social media to avoid being empty-handed when it comes to proving your social media ROI or struggling to find the sufficient results.

Since social media is a fast channel when it comes to content changes and audience behavior, it is very important to have an eye on your platforms on a daily basis, especially in the beginning. As you continue monitoring your efforts, it is possible that you’ll have to make big adjustments to your social media strategy. There will be things that work well and things which do not generate any useful outcome.


The whole tracking of your social media ROI is to prove your success on the one hand, but also a learning tool to increase this success on a long-term plan. The increase of your ROI should never stop. This whole process of calculating, defining, measuring, tracking and evaluating is not a one-time process which goes on automatically after you have set it up once. For sure, there are many templates and reports which can be generated automatically, but the content, strategy and goals need to be adjusted or even redefined over time.

Jannis Jörger is an Online Marketing Coordinator at cleverbridge.

Learn more about affiliate marketing and paid social advertising.