A 3-Step Guide to Tracking the ROI of a Facebook-Promoted Post

Posted on May 10th 2013

A 3-Step Guide to Tracking the ROI of a Facebook-Promoted Post

When you have a really important blog post, article or landing page that you want many people in your Facebook community to see, you should share the link in a post and then promote that post.

Promoting a post on Facebook means you pay a sum of money at a CPM rate (cost per thousand views) to increase the number of people who see it. The promotion will last three days and during that time period your promoted post will continuously show up in the News Feed of your community members (and their friends).

Since you are paying for the post it is essentially becoming an ad, and as with all ads you should be able to track the ROI.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing just that!

 

Step 1: Carefully Put Together a VISUAL Post

Not all post types on Facebook are created equal. Visual posts such as pictures, graphics and videos receive much more engagement than plain text posts.

Because you want to get the most for the money you are spending to promote a post, it then makes sense to use an eye-catching visual in the update.

Here’s an example of a post that I recently promoted for a health and wellness company that often shares tasty and nutritious recipes:

ROI

As you can see I used a Photo post with an eye-grabbing picture of yummy looking ice cream and in the text portion of the post I included a link.

 

Step 2: BEFORE You Add Your Post to Facebook Create a Trackable Link

The link you see in the post was shortened using bit.ly. However, if you could see the full URL you would see that it includes tracking code I created using Google’s URL Builder. 

Facebook marketing

When using Google’s URL Builder all you need to do is add the URL of the page you want to link to, a campaign source, medium and name.

When I use Promoted Posts I list:

Campaign Source: FB (stands for Facebook)

Campaign Medium: SponPost (stands for Sponsored Post or Promoted Post)

Campaign Name: something that describes the specific post – in this case StrawberryIceCream

It doesn’t matter what you use for Source, Medium and Name as long as you can recognize the keywords when you see them in Google Analytics.

Once you have your trackable link you will probably want to shorten it using bit.ly or some other link shortening service. This is because with the tracking code the link will be quite long.

After you shorten the link put together your post and take it live on your Facebook page. Then promote the post by following the steps when you hit “Promote Post” or “Boost Post” button that shows up at the bottom right corner of the post.

 

Step 3: Login to Google Analytics

Once your post is live on Facebook you can log into Google Analytics to begin tracking the results.

My favorite way to view stats on a Promoted Post is by heading straight to Campaign reporting which can be found under Traffic Sources:

Facebook advertising

Once you click into this area you will see keyterms for all of the links that currently have a “utm_campaign” paramenter in them. If you don’t see the exact term you are looking for you can search for it.

If you remember, I used the campaign name “StrawberryIceCream” for my Promoted Post and here is what I see when I locate that keyterm under Campaigns in Google Analytics:

online advertising best practices

I can see all of the usual stats like how many people visited by clicking the link in my Promoted Post along with avg. visit duration, % new visits and bounce rate.

Perhaps even more importantly, I can click over to my Goals or Ecommerce tabs and see how many conversions took place as a result of someone clicking my Promoted Post.

 

What About Other Facebook Ad Types?

And there you have it – a simple three step guide to tracking the ROI of your Facebook Promoted Posts.

You can use this same link building process to track all other types of Facebook ads.

For example, if you are using a Facebook ads manager to a/b test Facebook sidebar ads like this:

Version A:

online tracking

Version B:

ROI tracking

You would simply create your URL and when selecting a Campaign Name add something like “VersionA” and “VersionB” to the end of it:

analytics

In this example my Campaign name is “Donate10” for donate $10 and I just added versions to the end of the campaign name so I could see how each specific ad is performing in Google Analytics.

It really is as simple as that! 

adespressokristina

Kristina Allen

Kristina Allen is an online marketer and startup supporter. She is currently Head of Social Marketing at an advertising agency and also marketing director for AdEspresso a Facebook ads manager.You can follow Kristina on Twitter @allenkristina.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Clare McDowall
Posted on May 10th 2013 at 3:40PM

I just took a webinar on Facebook marketing that said that you SHOULDN'T use shortened URL's on Facebook posts, and people are less likely to click when they don't know where it leads.  Have you tied both short and long form URLs to see which works better?

adespressokristina
Posted on May 10th 2013 at 11:06PM

Hi Clare, I have heard that suggestion before as well, but in my experience managing many different pages of varying sizes (enterprise businesses to small companies) it has not made a difference.

I think as long as you build up trust with your audience they will click and engage with you regardless of whether a link is shortened or not.

In my opinion people are only hesisitant to click on a shortened link when it is coming from a potentially untrustworthy source that may be sending them to a malicious website.

CraneCrews
Posted on May 11th 2013 at 8:22PM

I find that facebook is not all it is cracked up to be in regards to advertising.  I just dont think its respectable enough to advertise for all things.  It seems obvious to me, facebook is too casual, its full of memes and goofing around.  However this issue isnt bought up much, id prefer to do something over twitter or linkdin.

Let me know what you think

Matthew Elliott

cranecrews.com

adespressokristina
Posted on May 12th 2013 at 10:20PM

Hi Matthew, in my experience Facebook is a great place for many businesses to reach their target audience. I've worked with both B2C and B2B brands and have seen both types of companies receive a positive ROI from their paid and organic Facebook activity. It's all about having a strategy in place and being able to test, track and improve your campaigns. That being said, it's true that for a (small) percentage of businesses Facebook is not a great place to advertise. 

Twitter and LinkedIn both have nice advertising platforms and work well as great organic communication channels as well. 

mohitjain89
Posted on May 17th 2013 at 7:20AM

Hi Kristina,

Thanks for sharing this info, as I am in this field from last one year only so it was really new thing for me. I didn't know that we could track the ROI of our promoted Urls through Google Analytics.

But I have one thing to say, as you used "bitly" to shorten the url then I think we don't need to track the clicks from google analytics specially with the help of Google Url Builder.

If we have account in bitly and we shorten the url from there directly then it provides us the tracking option automatically. We don't need to go for above process. And its more useful if we are handling multiple social accounts of different comapnies/brands. Bitly keep track of all our urls and gives us the report of each url no matter from which social networking site or any other medium that link has been clicked.

What you think? Keep sharing your knowledge :)

 

adespressokristina
Posted on May 27th 2013 at 12:23PM

Hi Mohit,

You can definitely track clicks through bitly; however, bitly won't provide you any on-site metrics like average time on site, average # of pages visited, bounce rate, goal completions or anything else like that. That is where the power of Google Analytics comes in and is why it's so important to be able to track your links in GA. 

cat_hungry
Posted on July 14th 2013 at 9:15PM

Thanks for the article Kristina.

Sounds like an important and useful strategy for any business trying to measure ROI.