Stop picking on the new kid

11 Jul

Reproduced from Aditya’s blog

I hate it wen people ask me for ROI on social media. I always ask them this, “If I put up a 25 fuckin’ feet banner with strobing lights and loud music coming out of it on Marine Drive for one month, can you tell me the EXACT ROI it gives me?”

That usually does the trick to shut most of them up. Some of them go ahead to explain things like X no. of views and footfalls. And that X is an elusive number you know. No one knows for sure what it is. They just know it’s a lot and it’s more than the no. X from a banner in the middle of the sea! Even this definition is wrong, if you go by the book. ROI is defined as Y amount of money you get back after investing X amount. Not footfalls. Not hits. Not conversations. Hard cash…

Brand managers usually calculate (if some MBA honcho is reading this, please correct me if I am wrong) ROI from different mediums using the no. of users reached. And there in lies the problem. If I reach X no. of users via TV and same X no. of users via Radio, which one  is more influential and will give me more ROI? No one fucking knows. Sure, you can make up some metrics by giving weighted values to each medium i.e. TV carries 2x times more influencing power than Radio and hence will give more ROI (this magic no. 2x either is made out of thin air or via some kinda market research). But lemme make one thing very clear. This is all qualitative.

You need more proof? Take TV for example. TRP’s are calculated by INTAM (Indian Television Audience Measurement), which is the only electronic rating agency functioning in India. And they install something called People Meters in sample TV homes to measure their viewing habits and then extrapolate it to the whole of India. Someone once told me that they install around 5,000 Meters i.e. 5,000 for a total of 63,000,000 total sets in India! Source

Also, check out this article from Amber Naslund which brings up this interesting research:

Number of web pages Google finds for the following phrases:

“direct mail ROI” – 131,000
“email ROI” 55,900
“radio ROI” – 33,200
“TV ROI” – 12,600 (television roi is just 291)
“magazine ROI” – 3,150
“newspaper ROI” – 210
“billboard ROI” – 85

“social media ROI” – 796,000

We suddenly care an awful lot about measuring this new stuff when we haven’t demonstrated nearly the same urgency around measuring the rest of our work (or at least we haven’t been nearly as vocal about it).

Peace out. I rest my case.

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