Lee Odden

5 Social Media ROI & Measurement Books to Grow Your Social Business

Books Social Media MeasurementOne of the most compelling challenges for companies entering the world of social business is measurement. The ability to attribute cause and effect directly can be elusive when it comes to measuring business outcomes like increased sales, improved customer retention and lowered support costs. But that’s only because this is new territory.  Business participation with social media on the web at large and internally has absolutely made measurable progress for numerous companies and organizations. The trick is to learn how, create a model that works for you and to sell it internally for testing, implementation and adoption.

One way to facilitate learning about Social Media ROI, Measurement and Analytics is through books from subject matter experts. Here are 5 that I’ve found useful and hopefully, you will too.

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization
by Olivier Blanchard

There are many other books on social media strategy, but in your pursuit of social ROI enlightenment, I’d start with this one (it’s also very new) because it covers social program development and management as well as measurement.  Olivier’s presentation on the Basics of Social Media ROI from a few years ago completely opened the eyes for many (including myself) on basic ways to approach the impact of social media on tangible business goals. It’s damn funny too.

Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment
by Jim Sterne

This may be one of the first books dedicated to socia media metrics and Analytics guru Jim Sterne does a great job of setting ground rules. This book isn’t about justifying social media at large or a collection of tactics. It takes you from goal setting to audience, influence, sentiment, action, conversation and business outcomes. Once you have all that, there’s advice on communicating your newfound social media measurement wisdom to the organization.

Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships
by Kattie Delahaye Paine

Katie Paine is the master of Public Relations and Social Media measurement and her new book is a great complement to our mix because it comes from a perspective of measuring and affecting influence, engagement and relationships – not just sales and revenue. Katie outlines how to get started with a measurement program, how to choose the right tools and she answers measurement “how” questions related to marketing and public relations, events, thought leadership, community, internal staff and crisis situations. This is a measurement bible for the social media and public relations savvy professionals of the world.
(Read our Public Relations Measurement interview with Katie)

Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity
by Avinash Kaushkik

If you’re even remotely familiar with web analytics, then you know the blog Occam’s Razor by Google’s Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. In his enthusiastic and entertaining style, Avinash explains the next generation framework of web analytics including social media measurement and includes specific guidance on hiring analytics resources, practical advice on the practice of  gaining insight from clickstream data and analysis, plus how to help managers become more data-driven in their decision making.
(Watch our video interview with Avinash at SES Hong Kong)

Mining the Social Web: Analyzing Data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media Sites
By Matthew A. Russell

After you’ve read the books above and you’ve either tasked an internal analytics guru or hired someone for your social media measurement and analytics, then they really need to dig into this book. When business, marketing or PR managers ask question like, “How can we create our own tools to mine our prospects social web activity?” this is a great guidebook into the mechanics of making that happen. Matthew covers “data hacking” for Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Google Buzz and LinkedIn plus how to visualize that data in a meaningful way.

While this is no comprehensive list of social media ROI, measurement and analytics books, it is a great collection to start with.  What books social media measurement books would you recommend?

(For the first time in 7 years, I’ve added Amazon affiliate links to these book URLs. Since we don’t sell ads here, I’m hoping you can appreciate  that effort).

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Read the first three. Excellent all. Have to tackle the others. Blanchard and Paine–outstanding. Blanchard has an excellent section on crisis management. Paine has a chapter on higher ed. I heartily agree!

  2. Thanks for the tips…I would say that there is a lot of hype going on in the social media. Most companies have no clue how to track neither do many online marketing companies. However, this does not mean it does not work but as you mentioned above, with good education and reading of what has worked for other companies, the same principles can be applied…

  3. That’s an awesome pick of books; my favorite being Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushkik. It was that book that really got me started in taking web analytics seriously. The author does a fabulous job explaining the importance of using analytics and brings light to the details that are most important.

  4. Avatar Alex Jansen says

    Another great book i would recommend would be Brains on Fire. It is all
    about passion and movements,very easy read wit great perspective.

    Alex J

    CEO & Founder


  5. Avatar Guy Powell says


    Great compendium of metrics books. All good authors.

    Take a look at our book ROI of Social Media at http://www.ROIofSocialMedia.com.



  6.  Awesome resources Lee.

    Any suggestions of an order to read these or just right down the list?

    • Each book has notes to help answer that question. But starting with Olivier’s book would be a good idea. Not all of them are appropriate for all marketers.

  7. Thanks for this list – couple on there that I am really looking forward to picking up!

    Do you think ROI is still the best way of measuring social media? At Internet World recently there was a lot of ‘return on engagement’ is more appropriate talk. Wrote up my notes / thoughts if anyone is interested! http://bit.ly/ivTLyt 

  8. Read the first three. Excellent all. Have to tackle the others. Blanchard and Paine–outstanding. Blanchard has an excellent section on crisis management. Paine has a chapter on higher ed. I heartily agree!