Over the last few days I have seen a number of articles cross the transom on the topic of conversions as a measure of ROI. Fast Company, for example, last week published one called “3 Steps to Measuring Your Company’s Social Media ROI” where the author cited Sales Conversions, Value of Increased Traffic and Depth of Engagement as the three different measures. All of these can be measured with Google Goals, which we have now integrated into Real Magnet’s analytics across email and social.

And just yesterday in CMO.com an infographic appeared with comparative conversion data across email, social and search (email was highest). To illustrate the relative ROI across channels, the info graphic presents data on average Add-to-Cart Rates, Conversion Rates and Page Views per Session across email, social and search. Like the three steps in the Fast Company article, these too can all be measured with Google Goals (which means you can see a running tally of these too, every time you fire up your Real Magnets analytics).

Here is one more: Forrester Analyst Robert Brosnan pointed out to Target Marketing that tracking and reporting email and social ROI not only results in more marketing resources added to the channel, but that it also makes customers happier:

While spending on display and search dwarfs email, mobile, and social, the return on investment (ROI) is flipped. And not only can marketers deliver much higher incremental revenue from shifting spend to this type of engagement media, they can also deliver on other corporate goals, such as improving customer experience and satisfaction.

Email marketers are quick to cite email’s ROI, but I think we could do a better job backing up our claims with hard data. The competition for marketing budgets continues to intensify and pointing out that email and social are inexpensive and have tremendous reach will ensure that they remain inexpensive (ie, marketers will not receive the resources they need to expand, enhance and improve these channels) while the reach becomes ever more tremendous (ie, management will expect ever improving results).

Instead, email marketers need to shift the conversation to measured ROI of these channels. Demonstrate that traffic from Twitter results in more visitors who view 6+ ad-filled pages on the site, that Facebook visitors are subscribing to your newsletters, or that 60% of your webinar registrations came from email and the result will be more resources thrown into these channels. Look at search marketing for an example. If you know that every $1 invested results in $3.50 in sales, you invest as many dollars as possible, right? We can now do the same thing with email and social, using ROI to propel these channels forward, instead of holding them back.