Four Ways to Measure the Impact of Social Media: A Case Study

Do you need to justify social media efforts to company leaders?

Do you want to know exactly what impact social media has on your business?

In this article you’ll discover how SAP North America created a process that shows them exactly how social media is touching millions of dollars in potential business.

SAP is a global leader in enterprise-level software and services. They have nearly 67,000 employees globally, and over 15,000 in SAP North America. They service 25 different industries and 12 lines of business with enterprise software.

measure the impact of social media

Read four ways to measure the impact of social media in this case study.

They started their social media presence in 2010, originally contracted to four to six outside agencies. By 2012, executives had been investing in social media for three years, but they didn’t have a good picture of what it was doing for the company.

Social Media Handles & Stats

Company: SAP



LinkedIn – 461,844 followers

Facebook – 259,534 followers

Twitter – 127,000 followers

Google+ – 21,528 followers

YouTube – 14,135 subscribers

SlideShare – 12,232 followers


  • SAP North America social media has touched close to eight figures of potential business
  • SAP North America social media has influenced deal progression in the multimillion-dollar range
  • Savings in the six-figure range by bringing social media in-house

#1: Compare Apples to Apples

At SAP, deals may run from six figures to the $50 million range and take two to three years to complete. With so much riding on each sale, executives wanted to know if social media was having an impact.

The problem was that each agency was using different tools, different strategies and different reporting methods. “It was like apples, oranges and carrots,” said Nick Robinson, digital channels manager for SAP North America.

It was impossible to tell what social media was doing for the company as a whole. So in 2012, SAP made a strategic decision to bring all social media in-house, starting with SAP North America. They wanted to put a process in place that would ensure everything was trackable using the same metrics.

#2: Pick a Place to Start

They decided to focus first on lead generation. Social media can be used for many different purposes, but the new team knew they couldn’t tackle everything at once. Lead generation made sense, as digital marketing was already focusing on it.

sap tweet

SAP uses Twitter to drive traffic to a blog post.

The URL is coded so SAP knows it came from Twitter.

sap landing page

The URL uses custom campaign coding to show the traffic source.

Using the sales funnel analogy, lead generation is filling the top of the funnel. The team set up a simple framework of driving traffic to blog posts, each of which had a call-to-action (CTA) link to a registration page. The link URL was coded so they could tell which posts the registrations were coming from. All of that information then went into their customer relationship management (CRM) system.

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