Return on investment is the top concern for 55% of social marketers, beating out concerns like understanding cross-channel social success (42%), developing strategies to support business goals (39%) and determining what content to post (39%), according to Sprout Social's 2018 Social Index report.
However, only 14% are able to quantify the revenue generated from social media. Instead, marketers look at these platforms in non-financial terms, specifically increasing brand awareness (80%), increasing community engagement (65%) upping web traffic (54%), and generating sales/leads (41%).
But true ROI isn't based on marketers' goals, it is met when brands deliver consumers' expectations, defined as content that "aids in awareness and consideration, not the end sale," according to the report.
“When it comes to creating videos for social, a key takeaway for advertisers is that people are looking for content that feels authentic to the brand and is not just an ad to push product," says Kristin Johnson, director, content & communications, at Sprout Social, adding that its research shows that 40% of people indicate that whether they watch a social video or not is in part influenced on whether think it’s basically an ad.
Social marketers appear misaligned with consumer preferences based on the report’s findings. Marketers, to that end, seek content that educates (61%), tells a story (58%) and inspires (53%), whereas consumers are looking for discount/sales (73%), showcasing of new products/services (60%), and videos that teach them something (59%).
Brands can produce all the video content they want, but the top factors that entice consumers to watch this content are length (61%), caption or description of video (51%) and whether the video is an ad (40%). If consumers feel like they are being directly sold to, they are less likely to watch that content, per the report.
"It is clear people are already weary of advertisements, so it is imperative that brands have a firm grasp on the story they are looking to tell," says Johnson. "A social video shouldn’t be self-serving or laced with sales jargon, but offer real stories, people and situations. If people connect to the content brands are producing, they’re more likely to not only watch the video, but further engage with it as well.”
Employee advocacy is the new influencer marketing with 71% of marketers using their workers as influencers, while only 19% continue to use influencer programs.
Nearly half of consumer respondents (45%) say they have reached out to companies on social media. Their top reasons for doing so are questions (57%), complaints (45%), and praise (34%).
Nearly six in 10 marketers (58%) receive between 1 and 50 requests a week, with 78% responding within 12 hours.
Facebook remains the dominant channel with 97% listing the platform as their most used and useful social network, though 83% now use Instagram as well with a mere 13% using Snapchat.
Half of consumers (51%) use Instagram and 30% use Snapchat.
The report is based on 1,253 consumer respondents and 2,060 marketer respondents conducted in April and May, 2018.