There's no question social media advertising is blowing up (in a good way) with Facebook alone predicted to take in $1.4 billion in ad revenue this year. But it's equally clear that the discipline is still in an early, experimental phase, as marketers struggle to get a handle on what works and what doesn't.
These are some of the conclusions I draw from a new report on social media from KingFishMedia, which in turn was based on its survey of 457 marketing executives in the second quarter of this year.
Fully 72% of respondents said their company had a social media strategy, and the majority of the rest said they will have one in place by next year. 75% said they would be increasing their investment in social media over the next year. Most of the companies with a strategy said they are focusing their social media efforts on both customer retention and acquisition, and 70% of respondents said they considered social media a marketing responsibility. 85% of respondents said they are using a Twitter account and just over two thirds have a Facebook fan page for their company.
But when it comes to advertising in particular, only 30% of respondents said they had executed a social media ad campaign -- and only half of these had attempted to measure the ROI of their campaigns. Within this group, roughly half said social media campaigns performed as expected or better than expected. Crunching the numbers, that means about 8% of marketers have executed social media campaigns, measured the results, and been satisfied with the outcome.
In addition to marketers neglecting to assess ROI, social media's growth may be hindered by companies failing to appoint full-time, dedicated social media staff: 90% of respondents said managing social media is just part of their responsibilities, suggesting they can't give it their full attention.