The never ending search for social media ROI

ROI searchMeasure, even if we can’t measure. That seems to be the direction in digital marketing today as vanity metrics, such as shares or likes, don’t directly contribute to the bottom line.  Yet marketers will spend a lot of time and money to prove to management that digital marketing is an essential part of any brand strategy.

Results from The CMO Survey point to a disconnect. Social media spending is currently 9.4% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (see Figure 1). However, the 351 marketing leaders responding to an August 2014 survey overwhelmingly report that proof lags spending and only 15% of marketers report their companies can show the impact of social media using quantitative approaches.

social_media_pie3

 

Doing so will likely require more spending on measuring marketing ROI. Survey results indicate that companies spend only 2.3% of marketing budgets on measuring marketing ROI. It will also require companies to rethink the way they approach such measurement. Survey results also indicate that only 11.9% of companies surveyed use experiments—a method that allows marketers to know with certainty what, whether, and to what degree social media spending impacts performance.

Marketing Contrarian Insights

1ne: At a time when marketers are being asked to quantify budgets, it would seem that the plan to spend more on social media is puzzling.

2wo: The connection between social media and business objectives is unclear.  However, brands NEED a social media presence as a feedback and customer service mechanism for customers and prospects.

3hree: Branded websites are more important because you own them. They feed into your database, and the users they attract tend to more loyal and viral, a big reason we should never give short shrift to direct feedback flows. In addition, research continues to drive home that conversion is higher via branded websites than via social media.

4our: Rather than try and find the ROI in social media brands should accept that social media is needed just like their customer service department.  The focus on ROI should be the brand’s website which continually needs optimization against key brand metrics.

screenshot_108