The sudden knock of a CEO at the door worries every CMO. The CEO walks in and says the company is trending on social media because a recent campaign received a high amount of "likes."

Due to that rise in popularity, the CEO requests information on how the like are affecting sales leads. "Get this to me first thing in the morning," the CEO adds and leaves.

In the morning?

The CMO doesn't have the resources to provide this information in the next few days, let alone a couple of hours. All the money is being poured into social media, and the CMO is not equipped with the tools to measure it or deduce what the return on investment is.

To find the answer, the CMO invests in social media analytics.

Does that scenario sound familiar? Out of 288 CMOs, a mere 13% report they can successfully and efficiently measure social data accurately, according to a Duke University survey.

Moreover, almost 90% of CMOs cannot determine the ROI of social media investment on business performance.

Many CMOs experience the situation described above. Some 61% of marketers feel pressure from CEOs and boards to calculate social data's impact, according to the survey. Meanwhile, investments in social media are expected to continue exponentially growing, from 10% of marketing spend currently, to 22.4% in only five short years.

So, marketers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Being able to measure the massive amounts of data produced from social media and then producing useful insights from that data is extremely difficult.

There is hope, however

Data scientists have produced cutting-edge algorithmic tools to help make sense of all that data. In turn, marketers can now help to ease the pain for their companies.

The key is answering a few vital questions before selecting the tool set and diving into all the human-generated data.

Here are five things marketers need to keep in mind in selecting the correct metrics for their companies—and deliver a greater marketing return on investment.

1. Uniting metrics with goals

It's crucial to establish precise goals for a social campaign and then create metrics lined up with those goals.

For example, say a company is launching a new brand of canine food. The goal is to build awareness of that brand. So, the correct metric here would be engagement. However, if the campaign is meant to make consumers purchase the canine food, sales conversion would be the best metric.

Additionally, be sure to verify each metric. Ensure each one measures what it is meant to measure.

2. Configuring dashboards for trending metrics

Marketers most likely are tracking metrics for clients from multiple sources. A social media dashboard is a useful way of aggregating all those sources and displaying a holistic snapshot of a brand's performance. A dashboard conserves monitoring time and gives marketing agencies real-time access to trending metrics.

3. Setting the correct benchmark

In the marketing industry, people often must look back to see how far they have come. That's why benchmarking social media campaigns is so critical. By creating a database of social media campaigns and the corresponding outcomes, marketers can measure trending metrics by creating those benchmarks.

4. Investing enough resources in analytics

Organizations do not take advantage of the marketing analytics that they have requested and have on hand for decision-making, according to the Duke University study. Indeed, they use only 2.3% of their marketing spend on calculating ROI.

Marketers need to invest in metrics to measure the impact of social media. That investment might include committed staff, agency partnerships, tools and technology, models, and customer databases.

5. Not waivering from trusted metrics

It seems like every day a brand new tool pops up that promises to revamp social media campaign metrics and analytics.

Do not waiver from familiar tools! Use a handful of proven, best-practice tracking tools that align with the goals set and which meet vital validity scenarios. Switching from one metric to another wastes time, money, and resources.

* * *

Using marketing analytics is an unmistakable challenge for organizations. Be an intelligent marketer, and a CMO will begin to appreciate the CEO standing at the door instead of worrying about it.

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What Marketers Need to Know When Choosing Metrics for Social Media Campaigns

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image of Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson

Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson is vice-president of Marketing of DataSift, a leader in human data intelligence that empowers application developers to maximize the value of human data, in real time.

LinkedIn: Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson