ROI, Measurement Top Social Media Challenges

Determining return on investment and measurement are still the top issues facing marketers, according to a new report from Forrester titled “Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR.” Forrester analyst Nate Elliott was blunt summarizing the problem: “The sobering reality is that nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding.”


Ouch -- but sometimes the truth hurts. In Forrester’s survey, 38% of marketers surveyed identified ROI as one of the top three challenges they face, followed by measurement issues, identified by 35% of respondents.  Next up, 34% of respondents said lack of internal resources was one of their three biggest issues, followed by lack of budget (25%), “integrating this channel with other channels (24%), and lack of time (23%).


According to Elliott, the failure to integrate social media with other channels is due to an attitude he calls “Social Exceptionalism,” which treats social media as fundamentally different from other types of media and marketing: “Rather than recognizing that social is just another marketing channel, many marketers see it as unique.”


Of course ROI and measurement have been chronic issues for social media marketing. Last year I wrote about a survey of 329 brand marketing executives by PulsePoint and the Economist Intelligence Unit, in which half of the survey respondents said lack of standardized metrics for ROI was a big impediment for social media campaigns.


Also last year, I wrote about “Marketing ROI in the Era of Big Data,” a study presented by Columbia University Business School professors and the New York American Marketing Association, which found that most advertisers and marketers are failing to exploit “Big Data,” including the wealth of information about consumer habits and preferences flowing from social media. This survey of 283 corporate marketing decision makers, conducted by Research Now, found 39% said their own company’s data is collected too infrequently or not real-time enough.


Meanwhile 51% said that a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI. 37% of respondents did not include any mention of financial outcomes when asked to define what “marketing ROI” meant for their own organization, with 22% using brand awareness as their sole measure when evaluating their marketing spending.

2 comments about "ROI, Measurement Top Social Media Challenges".
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  1. Tania Yuki from Shareablee, August 9, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.

    Interesting article - did the study break out what kinds of measurement issues were among the top set? Love to learn more!

    ROI tracking will always be difficult in terms of standardization, because of varying business objectives. But at least standardizing a core set of measurable items seems do-able with where the industry is.

  2. Guy Powell from ProRelevant Marketing Solutions, August 9, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.

    The problem with social media ROI, is that many marketers have such differing definitions. In reality they want to measure followers and engagement, but don't know how to connect it to sales. Others, look at ROI in a very simplistic way and get it wrong.

    We've done ROI in social media since pre-historic (pre-Facebook) times and have some proven methods that definitely work.

    Here is a link to a recent case study.


    Latest case study:

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