Commentary

Marketers Don't Give Social Enough Credit, Adobe Finds

Marketers may be underestimating the impact of their social media efforts by almost half, according to Adobe’s latest Digital Index report, which evaluated how marketers measure Web site traffic from sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, YouTube and Yelp, including an analysis of over 1.7 billion visits to more than 225 U.S. companies’ Web sites.

Adobe noted that social media marketing is now widespread, with 73% of marketing executives saying their companies use social media in a 2011 survey. However ROI remains a major, unresolved issue: 88% of executives in the same survey said they were dissatisfied with current forms of measurement, with 52% citing ROI difficulties as the single biggest obstacle in social media marketing.

Indeed, common social media metrics are actually shortchanging social media sites (and marketers’ social media initiatives) by a significant amount. Adobe said that the discrepancy in measurement is largely due to the reliance on “last-click” attribution, and recommended “first-click” attribution models as a more accurate approach to measuring social media’s contribution, which often engage customers earlier in the buying process.

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Switching to a first-click attribution model can raise social’s contribution to the buying process by as much as 94%, Adobe added. Thus the first-click attribution model for retail Web sites suggests an average value of $1.13 per visitor from social media sites, compared to just $0.60 per visitor when using last-click attribution.

Adobe assessed the average value of visitors referred to retail sites by a number of leading social media sites using both first-click and last-click attribution models, and discovered much higher values under the first-click metrics across the board. The average value was 91% higher on Facebook, 76% higher on Pinterest, 314% higher on YouTube, and 372% higher on Twitter, to name a few examples.

4 comments about "Marketers Don't Give Social Enough Credit, Adobe Finds".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, March 23, 2012 at 3:18 p.m.

    This is very complicated. They buy stuff or they don't.

  2. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, March 26, 2012 at 4:47 a.m.

    The proposition's a no brainer. Unfortunately, we can't continue to move goal posts to try to justify social media's 'commercial value' - we've done enough of that already. Otherwise we'll be giving social an undue, undeserved amount of credit (which is in fact what most social media marketers are seeking)

  3. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, March 26, 2012 at 5:33 a.m.

    I work in the hotels and travel space. we all know in the industry that the travel booking process is non-linear. This of itself can prejudice the validity of the first click attribution model. the secret of process success is that the travel shopper becomes a warmer/hotter prospect as he/she goes thro' the travel booking process.

  4. Sean Grace from Strategic Franchising, March 26, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.

    I agree with what Robert said about warming up a prospect through social media. It's is definitely good for that. Also, social media can end up reducing costs in other areas - customer service, new talent acquisition, lower cost per lead etc. So, the big picture always needs to be looked at. My company operates in this space, and the way we address this issue is by using these social channels to lead a customer through a trackable buying process allowing for sharing rewards and direct follow-up contact with customers.

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