ROI beyond likes and shares: 5 ways calls validate social ad spending

How do you accurately determine your social ad spend ROI? Columnist Andrew Osmak discusses the benefits of using call tracking to measure your success.

Chat with MarTechBot


Social media advertising is on the rise and set to increase exponentially. In fact, a CMO survey of marketing executives reveals a projected increase of 20.9 percent in the social media share of marketing budgets over the next five years.

Facebook has already experienced this influx of advertising money, recently reporting a year-over-year increase in ad revenue of 57 percent. Yet only 3.4 percent of the surveyed marketing executives recognize that social media contributes “very highly” to their company’s performance.

Why the disconnect? The issue stems from a discrepancy in ROI accountability and transparency after a major shift in the social marketing landscape. Advertising campaigns have never before experienced the kind of potential exposure that is available with social media.

Facebook alone offers access to nearly a billion daily active users on mobile phones. While three million advertisers are already monetizing Facebook’s user base, the best practices for measuring true social ad spend ROI still need to be established.

Go beyond likes and shares

For most marketers, the connection between the social media campaign and the conversion rate remains murky at best.

Most social media metrics measure the success of an initiative through an uptick in the number of likes, shares or retweets. While this reflects the corresponding increase in exposure, it doesn’t connect the sales directly back to the campaign — the most dependable standard of measurement.

Use a click-to-call button

Here is where measuring additional social engagement actions comes in — including tracking calls to a business. When a social media campaign includes a click-to-call button on the advertisement, a simple click links the ad directly to the call and consequently to the conversion.

That click-to-call button should not be underestimated. According to Google, 70 percent of mobile searchers have used call-tracking numbers to connect with a business.

If they don’t see a click-to-call button on an advertisement, 47 percent of those searchers said they will likely explore a competitor’s ad instead — meaning your business will lose out on an opportunity to connect with a valuable customer.

Identify the social media source

Call tracking goes beyond merely measuring the number of calls, but rather offers a nuanced view of the customer’s actions before and during the call. Through an innovation called “social dynamic number insertion,” the precise source of a phone call and resulting actions can be tied together.

A unique phone number is presented to each website or landing page visitor based on the social media ad source. This unique number can then be used to identify the exact source of the lead and tie the return on investment to specific social advertising campaigns.

As a result, marketers can measure and test the effectiveness of social media advertising in real time.


Understand the customer

Social dynamic number insertion also enables marketers to track customers’ interactions with the business and helps deliver rich demographic information about the inbound callers. For example, reporting includes the impact of social advertising campaigns on inbound leads, opportunities and sales closed over the phone.

Including dynamic call tracking as part of your social media advertising strategy also can help marketers understand the key conversation takeaways, rank phone leads based on the type of inquiry, evaluate purchase intent and determine how well the business’s sales team handled the call.

Measure calls because they matter

Social media call tracking is especially beneficial for industries where calls signal strong purchase intent, including automotive, legal, home services, health care, travel, hospitality, insurance and financial services.

If your social media advertising is driving calls to local businesses or franchise locations, consider using local phone numbers when implementing social dynamic number insertion. Our xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study, conducted by Nielsen, shows that callers prefer local numbers to toll-free three to one.

Here are five ways marketers can use dynamic call tracking to optimize their social media advertising and boost ROI:

  1. Create a measurement opportunity. Use a click-to-call button to attract mobile searchers, and bridge social media ad response with offline actions.
  2. Identify the source of the call. Compare and optimize social media channels to focus on the top-quality lead drivers.
  3. Track volume and quality. Focus on social media advertisements that generate a high volume of calls and attract the right audience.
  4. Target social advertising spend. Rich caller profile reports include everything from demographic details such as education, income and family status to purchase history and intent. Such details will help a savvy social media marketer reach their target audience — such as 50- to 55-year-old males planning to purchase an SUV in the next six months.
  5. Identify the best prospects for social targeting. Based on granular data about high-value callers, marketers can make the best use of the personal advertisements on social media and optimize segmentation in real time.

Social dynamic number insertion offers a fundamental way for marketers to accurately and confidently measure their return on social media advertising investments.

When used with local and toll-free numbers, call scoring and caller profile insights, this technology enables social media marketers to optimize their social ad programs with key granular data on calls and callers.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Andrew Osmak
Andrew Osmak, CEO of call analytics provider Telmetrics, has more than two decades of experience building digital and mobile companies by developing market-first solutions that empower marketers. This, combined with his varied experiences as an investor, corporate executive and start up leader, provide him a unique perspective on today's most pressing digital marketing trends and news.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.