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Why Social Media ROI Can’t Be Measured – And Why That’s OK
Courtney Seiter / Marketing Land / November 5, 2012
“There are things we know that we know. There are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.”
When I read this (slightly paraphrased) quote from Donald Rumsfeld back when it was first said in 2002, it sounded like total political gobbledygook.
But I thought of it recently in a new context: social media ROI. And suddenly, it makes perfect sense.
Because yes, there are plenty of things we can do to get close to quantifying our returns from social media – campaign variables, landing pages and forms, multi-channel funnels – but we’ll never be able to quantify every lead, every brand-awareness lightbulb moment, everything social does for us.
There are still things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t even know we’re missing in terms of social media measurement.
For proof, look no further than The Atlantic, which shook the social media realm recently with its expose of “dark social” – the idea that the channels we fret over measuring like Facebook and Twitter represent only a small fraction of the social activity that’s really going on.