Seven out of ten marketers expect their companies to increase spending on social media in 2014, according to a new survey of 328 marketing professionals conducted by Decipher on behalf of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association.
That proportion (70%) compares to 53% who expect their companies to increase spending on email marketing, 16% who expect more print spending, 14% more product sampling, and 9% more TV advertising. The study, titled “State of Word of Mouth Marketing Survey,” also found that 29% expect to increase spending on “offline word of mouth” marketing.
It’s not all wine and roses for social media marketing, however: in the same survey, 79% of marketing pros said two of their biggest obstacles are measuring online social media (79%) and demonstrating return on investment (85%). Measuring offline word-of-mouth is an even bigger issue (89%).
Towards that end WOMMA has commissioned a new measurement initiative, “The Value of WOM Study,” and retained Sequent Partners to lead a market mix modeling project to put a dollar value on online and offline WOM campaigns.
While ROI remains an issue, social media is clearly poised for growth. In October a report and forecast from ZenithOptimedia estimated that total social media advertising spending will reach $4.6 billion this year, up 35% from $3.4 billion in 2012; looking ahead, ZO sees social media ad spending climbing to $8.22 billion by 2015, which suggests a cumulative annual growth rate of around 35% over the next two years.
According to the CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which polled 410 marketing executives from July 16-August 6, 2013, CMO survey respondents said they expect social media marketing’s share of overall marketing budgets to increase from an average 6.6% currently to 9.1% over the coming year, and 15.8% over the next five years.
I have to admit, I'm surprised to see the ROI issue still being so prominent.
With the advancements in analytics, this should really not be the case anymore or as much of an issue. Well thought out strategies and structured analytics can easily address the ROI question.
With the release of Universal Analytics from Google, tracking channels like social, email and even from POS systems make better analytics possible.
Using ecomm tracking, simple attribution models and conversion tracking within GA can move you down the path of understanding the social and multi-channel ROI. Even to the extent that custom dashboards can be created for the C-suite so they're not wading through data trying to see the ROI.
If you're not seeing ROI on your social, your digital team has probably not integrated these things. Once set-up, it just a matter of creating a good digital strategy. Afterall, you really can't measure the ROI of something until you know what you're trying to measure that indicates an ROI.