Measuring ROI For Social Media Campaigns In The Life Sciences

In my last post, Why Life Sciences Companies Must Embrace Social Media Now One of the comments was about ROI for social media.  I wanted to share with you a few of thoughts on this very important topic.

ROI  for any type of campaign needs to be defined at the beginning during the planning stage.  You should ask yourself  these two questions –

What are my Goals for this campaign?

Traditional Goals Include Awareness, Lead Generation, Branding and Revenue Generation.  While these all remain true for Biotechnology Marketing 2.0 I would also add Customer Engagement as a goal if you are planning a social media campaign.

How will 1 measure the success of this campaign ?

When you have generated XX new leads? XX Hot Leads? XX Qualified Leads? When XX number of 100 people recognize my brand?

Again these all remain true for Biotechnology Marketing 2.0 but the use of social media requires a whole new set of metrics which can be used to measure customer engagement

  • How often was your message or post liked, shared or re-tweeted. Did people comment or share their opinion? This is a very important indicator of the value of the content you produced.
  • Click through rates to a link you shared – how many people viewed it?
  • Follow through on a call to action – how many people downloaded XXX or visited your website for more information? This is often a very good indicator that both your message was strong and your so was your incentive to the customer – you are providing them with something of value to them
  • Engagement with your website or content – how long did they spend on it, did they go to other links from your page and do they return regularly?
  • How many people are subscribing to your updates, i.e.  opting in to hear your messages
  • An interesting one I like, is how you are ‘Listed’ on twitter – this gives a nice indication of how your followers view you. If your goal is to be perceived as the ‘leading supplier of technology for cancer research’ how many times are you listed with names that are associated with your target market – ‘cancer research’?
  • What are people saying about your company/campaign or product? Is the feedback mostly positive? If its negative – its just giving you the golden opportunity to improve – very very valuable feedback.
  • How often are people recommending or endorsing your products or services to their friends and colleagues?  Sometimes they don’t only recommend the product they will go on to sell it for you – listing a whole host of benefits that you yourself may not have even thought of!
  • If you ask a question to your subscribers – how many respond to you? this is often a good indicator of your following actively ‘listening’ to you

As you can see the metrics for measuring success are very different when using social media – but with careful planning and setting the right goals – you can be very successful at engaging your customers

If the holy grail of marketing is getting the right message to the right person at the right time then the holy grail of sales is simple – REVENUE!

I would like to share with you a success story of a company who used social media to experiment with their  marketing reach, motivate their employees and generate revenue simultaneously.  Unfortunately this company needs to remain anonymous for now.

Company R decided to hold a promotion – To reduce the price of one of their products by 50% and only use social media to tell people about it.  In addition  the management set a challenge for the 20 employees of the company.  They were each given their own unique promotion code and asked to propagate it using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or any other social network. The person whose promotion code was used the most would win a prize.  Typically this product sold approximately 75 units per day.

The promotion ran for 3 days only and once it started, for three days there was a frenzy on Twitter and Facebook.  Each of the employees posted their promo code, asked their friends and networks share it with their friends and networks.  After 3 days the net result of this experiment was the following

  • 20 employees completely engaged in a competition
  • Approximately 26,000 retweets and Shares of the promo codes on twitter and Facebook
  • Approximately 11400 hits to the website with about 65% of them from New IPs
  • 3000 Units of product sold in 3 days
  • 1 winning employee whose promo code was used 478 times
  • Total cost of implementing the campaign $0

I loved this experiment because it is an excellent example of crowd sourcing, employee engagement, customer engagement, creating buzz in the market utilizing new media and revenue generation.

I will let you do the maths to work out the ROI on this one 🙂

6 thoughts on “Measuring ROI For Social Media Campaigns In The Life Sciences

  1. Love the concrete example of the brand promotion. However, my question is this: what type of product was it? I can envision this type of social media promotion working very well for an electronics product, restaurant, etc, but not as well for certain service or product sectors. Secondly, I know that social media met the ROI, but the I wonder what the company is doing to nurture those leads and bring those people into the company’s online community. I think that also gets to bottom-line ROI (engaged community that can be activated, is loyal, will buy again…)


    • Hey Debra,
      Thanks for the comment and the interesting points you raise. So this was actually an example from a company in the life sciences but agree that this strategy would work particularly well for consumer products and services.

      The best way to nurture leads is to continue to use the social media channels to drive people to high value content. Educational pieces are often viewed as high value content but of course this will depend on the type of campaign you are running and the particular products involved.

      A couple of my favorite companies doing a good job on engaging the community include @23andme – and @wherebiobegins which is the twitter account for Sigma

      If you have any experience on generating high ROI social media campaigns, i would love to hear about them 🙂


  2. chrismlindgren says:

    Hi Ruby,

    I like this blinded case study very much and it makes a lot of sense for certain life science products. I have already passed this on to someone with a smaller size company selling specialty products in the space. It also shows the importance of building and nurturing your network (everyone has a role to play in this regard), and targeting the right audience within that network with the right content / promotion. And of course you need to be equipped to handle the business including integrating all the necessary communication channels and operations to deliver well.

    Thank you!


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