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Not All ROI is Measurable—And That’s Okay

Talk to any business owner about new technology, and one of their first questions is sure to be, “what’s the ROI?”

However, with the explosion of social media, influencer marketing, and other tech-based marketing techniques, businesses are learning that some ROI is not measurable.

The topic came up when I recently had a conversation with Ridam Gulati, founder of Giden, an influencer marketing tech company that helps connect home furnishings brands with interior designers and use their influence to promote products or content.

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“One thing I try to talk to brands into understanding is that for trade brands if you’re not selling directly, it’s hard to measure ROI,” he says. “And there is actually ROI bigger than just direct sales. So when you work with a trusted influencer who has an audience, not only are you reaching a targeted audience, but you’re generating engagement.

“If you work with 20 different designers and over the 10 projects that they do in a year they are using your products, you’re getting a consistent, collective force of content together that’s being talked about by the people that love your products.”

As many in the industry know, word of mouth is one of the most powerful influences a home furnishings brand can have. And Gulati says it’s all about building a connection.

“You need to build that emotional connection with the audience through the people they trust,” he says. “And even if they see your ad on Google, they still need to contact somebody to be sure that’s what they want. But many of these people are already following these designers and watching their content. And when the designers are able to answer all these questions, they become a digital sales force.”

My conversation with Gulati focused on a very specific example of influencers. But think about your own social media influence. You’re reaching a lot more people and influencing a lot more people than you can ever truly know through these channels, and there’s a lot of ROI there regardless of if you measure it.

Gulati did a talk recently in Toronto, and one woman pointed out that executives are still focused on magazines, but the audience’s attention is on TikTok. 

“The ads they’re consuming are very different, but brands are still starting creating those high-level videos that are three or four minutes long, showcasing different things that people don’t watch or resonate with anymore,” he says. “They need to recognize the shift.”

Understanding how influencer and social media marketing works is key to understanding that ROI is not always measurable—and that’s okay.

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