Create your Baseline for Social Referral Marketing Success

Many marketers don’t establish KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or success metrics for their social referral marketing platform the first year. They say, “they didn’t know what to expect.” So, we decided to give them a list of metrics to help establish a performance baseline they can build on every year.

The metrics are derived from three sources:  event objectives (for example, host a profitable event), marketer objectives (reach specific attendance goals) and the capabilities of a social referral marketing platform. Here are some general data points to consider: 

Revenue (paid registrations that result from social referrals) is important if the purpose of implementing a social referral marketing platform (SRMP) is to increase paid registrations. It’s also an important number for calculating the return on investment in an SRMP.

Verified attendance (the number or percentage of people who register for the event based on a referral) is a crucial metric for all events, but particularly free-to-attend events that typically post higher no-show rates than paid events. 

Many events have price tiers; expo hall passes are free, but conference registrations require payment. Measuring conversions from free-to-attend to paid attendance from social referrals helps organizers understand the impact of social referrals on revenue.

Advocacy, as measured by the number or percentage of registrants who refer the event to a colleague, is a significant indicator of the health of the event. A very low advocacy rate can signal a weak event—one about which registrants aren’t confident. It’s also a data point that could trigger further investigation. Think, for instance, about what it might mean if a large number of registrants made referrals, but they didn’t lead to registrations and vice versa. 

The percentage of total event registrations attributable to social referrals is the ultimate indicator of the value of a social referral marketing platform. It’s also a starting point. If this metric is low, it could mean that the referral opportunity at registration should have been clearer, organizers should have reminded registrants to make referrals several times post-registration or incentives to refer colleagues might be helpful. 

Organizers can leverage Influencers—the specific individuals responsible for driving the most registrations through their referrals—to boost registrations by encouraging them (maybe even rewarding them) during the registration cycle. 

The number or percentage of net NEW registrants based on social referrals is a significant measurement to make. While an increase in total registrations is a laudable goal, increasing the number of previously unknown registrants is critical for growing the event. 

Measuring the increase of net NEW registrants is an important metric for one event, but tracking the lifetime value of net NEW registrants–a measure of the value attendees bring to the organization or association in subsequent years–impacts organizers for the long term.

Referral Sources, such as email, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or Twitter can tell marketers which channels their audience members trust for reaching their social networks. It’s often assumed that social referral platforms convert more effectively using social media platforms. In fact, most successful conversions occur using email and share links (unique referral tracking codes) embedded in Slack, Skype and other communication platforms.

The beauty of digital marketing is that these data byproducts can be sliced and diced in many ways to prove the effectiveness of a channel and provide clues about how to boost its future performance. If you’d like to talk more about using these metrics, deploying a social referral marketing platform or learning more about how our customers perform on these KPIs, schedule a demo or contact us with your specific questions.

BONUS: You can learn about social referral marketing platforms in this new white paper. Download it here.


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