A decade into the social media era, the question of return on investment remains largely unanswered. At least
that’s the message I get from the most recent “Social Business Benchmark” survey conducted by Harris Poll for Hootsuite, which found that social media marketers are still struggling
with their inability to produce meaningful metrics for social campaigns, as well as institutional inertia and lack of understanding in the organizations they support.
In terms of measurement and analytics, fully two-thirds of social media marketers surveyed (67%) said that assessing the effectiveness of social media activities
is one of the main challenges they face, and 62% said they struggled with designing an overall media strategy.
Furthermore, 61% said turning
data gathered from social media into actionable insights was a major hurdle, and 56% said they had a hard time making sense of all the different kinds of social media data available. Forty-two percent
said they had trouble knowing when to take action based on social media signals.
institutional side, 59% said they faced obstacles in educating company staff how to use social media, and 55% complained about the difficulty of aligning social media strategies across the different
departments in their organization. Last but not least, 44% said they were still working to get “buy-in” from executives regarding the importance of social media to the business (perhaps
related to shortcomings in determining ROI, mentioned above).
These findings are roughly in line with surveys conducted at the beginning of this year, suggesting that little progress has been made in terms of measuring
social media ROI. ExactTarget’s “2014 State of Marketing” survey of 2,300 marketers, published in January, found that just 34% of
marketers said they had seen a return on from their social media spending. That was less than half of the 78% of marketers who said they were engaged in social media marketing.
Another survey published by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association in November 2013 found that 85% of marketers believed measuring social media ROI was their