Juan van Deventer ( @jevandeventer ) from JVD Wine in South Africa recently asked me if there was any return on investment (ROI) in social media for the wine industry. “Any stats that you may be able to share with us in regards to social media & sales?” he asked via Twitter. While I don’t have the data, I expect that very few wine companies are tracking this data. As I have written about before, Google Analytics can easily track this data but it seems that so many wineries are not sure how to access this data.
From a scientific point of view, there are 2 ways of looking at it. We can report on correlations, which aren’t really hard truths, or we can look at the hard data which leaves out a lot of immeasurables.
Correlation of Wine Social Media Marketing ROI
Social media marketing is more about a branding effort than it is a direct sales channel. An understanding of ROI cannot be measured in a branding effort because branding has too many variables that cannot be measured:
- Delivers the message clearly
- Confirms your credibility
- Connects your target prospects emotionally
- Motivates the buyer
- Concretes User Loyalty
But for decades marketing departments and advertising firms have been measuring brand growth through correlation studies. Now in scientific research, correlations don’t mean much except that there might be a relationship. Not that there for sure is a relationship between the action and the result.
In the olden days, advertising agencies would control the variables by doing one “action” or marketing effort in one city and not do it in another city (the control group). Comparing the sales results in one city with the control group’s sales numbers, the advertising firm was able to make an educated guess if the campaign worked. If it did, they could invest and roll out the same efforts in other similar regions. Expensive way to run a marketing campaign!
It is much easier today to run your own test campaign to make an educated guess to see if the marketing effort worked.
When understanding the impact of your Tweets, Facebook Posts, Instagram & Pinterest photos it is best to run an isolated campaign to measure the sales results of the prior years sales for that quarter compared to the current years sales for the quarter that you ran a social media campaign. You would have to be careful to not add too many variables to the pie or your correlation of sales results will be less and less conclusive. And there are variables you cannot control, like the economy, consumer and critic reviews of your product and overall brand strength.
I recommend comparing a prior years holiday promotion (the control group) that didn’t utilize social media as an outreach tool to promote the special, to the present year’s holiday promotion that implemented a strategic social media marketing campaign to promote your holiday special. Don’t just look at sales, but look at Facebook Insight reports, Pinterest business reports and Twitter Analytics. I recommend looking at your Google Analytics and seeing how much website traffic you generated from your social media sources. Make sure to compare those numbers to your control group’s social media engagement and see if there was an increase engagement on social media.
If you see an increase in sales and the data shows that social media engagement was up, then you can make a correlation that your social media marketing campaign for your holiday promotion was fruitful. But account for the general wine industry’s economic growth. If you saw a 2% of sales increase in each quarter of your test year, then seeing 2% growth in your holiday promotion means that the social media marketing effort was not fruitful.
Now be aware, a failed marketing campaign does not suggest that there is no wine social media marketing ROI. It could be other variables besides the outreach channels (social media) and have more to do with the promotional offer. Keep on testing and play around with the variables until you see results.