What is your Social ROI for Video Commerce?

In a transformed business environment where social activity is given it’s own currency and value, retailers and e-commerce businesses today are understanding better that properly measuring the performance of a video campaigns requires more than just the single ratio of money to deem if it has been successful return on its investment. The Social Return on Investment, or “SROI,” is a relatively new value system that is helping companies better understand value goals that have been often overlooked before, and video is ripe with data for helping us achieve that.

Social ROI, Explained

What is SROI?

SROI is the acronym for Social Return on Investment – a value mechanism that is either measured along with, or separately from, the financial side (i.e., money). SROI is measured through metrics ascribed to both user activity that is deemed to be “social,” along with activity on social media networks and channels.

While in financial management the term ROI refers to a single ratio (money usually, and perhaps virtual currency used in monetary exchanges, also), SROI analysis refers not to one single ratio but more to a way of reporting on value creation.

Why businesses are now measuring SROI

While most businesses today are private-based and profit-driven, they have become better about recognizing that other things must be measured besides financial ROI to assess the health and sustainability of their company and the market, especially for long-term financial goals. Thanks to SROI, businesses are now better at including two sets of “social values” alongside financial ROI, both of which are inter-related:

  1. ONLINE: The value of people and activity in the social media space
  2. OFFLINE: The social environment of the business’ own workplace

SROI has now given a value goal for businesses with resource allocation decisions. SROI has also proven itself to be beneficial for a company’s financial performance in the long-term, since it forces a company to pay attention to the intangibles that might otherwise be overlooked.

What’s also positive (although admittedly a challenge for each business to figure out on it’s own) about SROI is that it allows the market and the individual business to ascribe it’s own “value” amount on each of their social activities. For example, a business that is more retail and eCommerce based could likely ascribe a bigger social value to positive customer reviews – both in frequency and quantity, on product review sites and popular blogs. On the video side, it would certainly also measure the shares and ‘likes’ and tweets of a product video, along with the levels of engagement around that video.

Like regular ROI, SROI can be used by any entity to evaluate impact on stakeholders, identify ways to improve performance, and enhance the performance of investments.

For more information about SROI, I recommend checking out The SROI Network website; and I also recommend reading the article from socialedge on the challenges and opportunities for businesses with figuring out their own values for SROI.

The Metrics for SROI

What are the SROI Metrics that matter most for video commerce?

Here is my own breakdown of the three most important metrics categories that can apply to retail and e-commerce brands with their own videos (contributed in part with comScore’s own Video Search Evangelist Eli Goodman):

Volume Metrics

Volume is the top-level approach that’s usually good to start with, and can serve as your benchmark for granulated SROI metrics. They are:

  • Total unique viewers
  • Total videos viewed
  • Total video watching visits
  • Total minutes

Engagement Metrics

Goodman explained that engagement metrics are mostly a function of the volume metrics, such as:

  • Total plays and play-through rate (PTR)
  • Total videos viewed per viewer
  • Total minutes per viewer
  • Percentage video viewing completion rate (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%)
  • Total clicks and click-through rate (CTR)

Distribution Metrics

These metrics gauge and compare statistics from the individual social media channel categories such as: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked-In, Email, Affiliates, QR Codes, and Mobile. Taking the example of the graph below provided by the video commerce platform and solutions provider, Liveclicker, we can see how they compare impression activity between social networks to help clients better measure their own SROI for each channel:

Measurement Example of SROI in Video Commerce

Fortunately, analytics service providers today have much improved on their technology and ability to help measure SROI, including helping retail and e-commerce providers generate and track the social benefit of their own efforts.

Below is another example from Liveclicker’s, with a chart on “Blogs/Facebook” metrics for a client video campaign. These types of social distribution metrics lets clients see what communities are sharing their videos and find their products interesting. The client receives a report with a list of the actual links, # of player impressions, how many people played them, the play-through rate (plays to impressions), and clicks and click-through rates for the interactive elements.

And lastly, here is an edited dashboard example on a single video widget example from Liveclicker. (Many of the individual social metric charts have been removed to showcase just the overall picture in this example.) The areas that I’ve highlighted in red denote information and data used to define the social media metrics being gathered for deep analytical reporting.