Tracking ROI on web 2.0

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One of the main advantages of digital marketing tactics like PPC and SEO is that returns are tangible. Unlike traditional media, you can track how many conversions were generated by that sponsored link or how many Google ranking places were gained by teaming up with that SEO company. But a common advertiser complaint with web 2.0 is that ROI can be difficult to keep tabs on. How do you quantify the benefits of blogging, uploading podcasts or self-publicising on Facebook?

How has web 2.0 benefitted business?

Stepping into the breach is the McKinsey Global Survey from business journal McKinsey Quarterly. It raised the subject of web 2.0 deployment with 1,700 executives across the globe, spanning an array of industry sectors, and their answers were extremely revealing. More than two-thirds of respondents said their decision to use web 2.0 technologies had given them measurable business benefits – an impressive 69 per cent. These advantages ranged from improved digital marketing and more innovative products to lower business costs and higher revenues.

What web 2.0 technologies offer the greatest ROI?

Of course, it would be foolish to lump all web 2.0 technologies together – some are clearly more effective than others. The good news is this study also sheds lights on what techniques most frequently inspire customers to take action. Top of the pile is blogging with 51 per cent of executives reporting a positive experience, followed by video-sharing and social networking tied on 48 per cent and RSS feeds on 45 per cent. Wikis and podcasts have also generated returns for 37 per cent of companies, while tagging, rating and microblogging lag behind with 23 per cent, 22 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

What represents best practice for web 2.0?

Companies must play their part in fostering a creative web 2.0 atmosphere. Specifically, executives would do well to remember the three I's of web 2.0 – integration, interaction and investment. The report explained: "We found that successful companies not only tightly integrate web 2.0 technologies with the work flows of their employees but also create a 'networked company', linking themselves with customers and suppliers through the use of web 2.0 tools. Despite the current recession, respondents overwhelmingly say that they will continue to invest in web 2.0."

Richard Frost