Does social media advertising really work?

measuring social media advertising ROI

“Does social media advertising really work?” “What kind of ROI will I get on my social ad spend?” These are the kinds of questions we get a lot from clients. So, let’s start with the second one, the important question about using social media to move the needle.  The answer: it depends. Goals and objectives are different from client to client, so it’s tough to give a concrete, one-size-fits-all answer. For example, if your goal is awareness, the metrics you’d use to see if social media advertising has had an impact would be different than if your goal were generating leads.

The answer to the first question, however, I can say without a doubt is: yes. In fact, in this blog post, I’m going to share a recent example of a client campaign that’ll illustrate answers to both questions.

Our clients at Tridium, a B2B IoT software technology company based here in Richmond, were gearing up to host their biennial conference, the Niagara Summit. Think of the Niagara Summit as Tridium’s version of an Apple keynote event, but less consumer-focused. It’s a three-day conference where the organization shares new updates to the technology and gives their stakeholders an update on where both their organization and the industry in general is headed. There are keynotes from the leaders of Tridium, plus informative breakout sessions for software engineers, developers and business leaders.

The Assignment

Tridium tasked THP with a goal of increasing awareness of the event and driving registrations. Our agency already manages Tridium’s robust social media communities on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and knew that using social advertising to target our followers and others like them would be instrumental in helping us carry out this assignment. We developed targeted audiences for each platform using all the data we had available to us including company names, job titles, industry, previous registrant information, previous website visitors and interest targeting. We used a mix of graphics, copy and video throughout the ad campaign which ran from February until the event date in mid-April.


The campaign ran in phases and the copy and graphics were adjusted throughout. The first phase of the campaign, during which the Early Bird registration price was promoted, yielded 36 conversions, or registration purchases, and the last phase of the campaign yielded 56 registrants. Overall, the ad campaign was responsible for 92 registrants, representing a greater than 10x return on investment.

Determining whether or not a social media ad campaign was successful and a productive investment for your brand really starts at the beginning. Establishing clear goals and objectives will allow you to set KPIs that match your goals and ultimately help you measure success. Because our client’s goal was so clearly defined, we were able to implement a strategy and tactics that tied back to that goal and report back the success in terms that people in the organization, including the c-suite, could appreciate. Tridium’s innovation in social media for a B2B audience also has become a model for best practices throughout their parent organization.

Paulyn Ocampo

Since joining THP in 2008, Paulyn has helped execute strategic plans for clients like AMF Bowling Centers, Allianz, Tridium, Silgan and The Peterson Companies. A Norfolk native, she earned her undergraduate degree in mass communications, with a concentration in public relations from VCU.

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