Commentary

Social Media Marketers Frustrated With ROI, Lack Of Buy-In

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.
 
On the 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 biggest challenge.

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6 comments about " Social Media Marketers Frustrated With ROI, Lack Of Buy-In".
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  1. , November 21, 2014 at 2:36 p.m.

    This makes me think they spoke with a lot of inexperienced social media marketers.

  2. Christine Rusk from Media Integration Advisers, November 21, 2014 at 2:59 p.m.

    Hopefully, the Harris Poll used inexperienced media marketers for their survey. Think about the ramifications if they didn't.

  3. Steve Goldner from DivorceForce, November 21, 2014 at 3:13 p.m.

    Yes - social media marketing continues to be foreign for so many. Just last week I tackled this subject and answered "Here is the ROI for Social Marketing" at http://socialsteve.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/here-is-the-roi-for-social-marketing/ … definitely worth your time getting to understand it.

  4. Demos Ioannou from DCI Consulting LLC, November 21, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.

    I think there's a reason that it is hard to read, it's because (for CPG's, grocery especially) the ROI (a term I hate) isn't really there. There are no reliable data to shove into an already collinearity-laden Marketing Mix. I can see a person measuring it in the right environment, but as soon as you try that methodology somewhere else, it falls apart. Either that, or the whole subject is about to burst, like so many bubbles before. Then the ARF conferences will be bereft of content!

  5. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, November 21, 2014 at 7:40 p.m.

    Maybe the issue is that there isn't much ROI. That wouldn't be surprising. Doesn't mean the medium isn't useful - it's just nowhere near the panacea that the venture capital funded hype claimed it would be. After all, consumers DON'T want to be a brand's friend... They wan to be their friend's friend.

  6. Kristin C from LiftMetrix, November 22, 2014 at 5:54 p.m.

    Check out our recent post on Mastering the Art of Social ROI

    http://blog.liftmetrixblog.com/mastering-social-roi-the-liftmetrix-approach/

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