Marketers work on solving the question of social media ROI

Jun 19, 2019

MarketingCharts staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of articles from MarketingCharts, which provides up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.

Seven in 10 social marketers say that increasing brand awareness is one of their top goals. To help achieve this, more than half (54 percent) are prioritizing potential audience reach when considering which social platforms to invest in, per a new report from Sprout Social, which surveyed more than 1,000 social media marketers and over 1,000 consumers.

Data late last year from Zenith predicted social media advertising globally will grow by $28 billion between 2017 and 2020, accounting for about 64 percent of the growth of internet display advertising as a whole. And yet, while marketing dollars are ramping towards social media, costs are still a big consideration. In fact, almost half (47 percent) of the marketers surveyed by Sprout Social prioritize the cost of paid ads when investing in a social platform.

In an effort to meet their goals of lead generation (59 percent) and increased web traffic (45 percent), more than one-third of marketers also prioritize what potential the various social platforms have for making gains in these areas.

One in three respondents also take into consideration social algorithm updates when choosing social platforms. Other research has highlighted that these updates can pose a real problem, with algorithm changes on social being named a top challenge by the majority of B2C content marketers.

Among the challenges, almost half (47 percent) of social marketers find it difficult to develop social strategies that support their overall business goals. More than half (59 percent) of marketers say they don’t have enough time in the day to build out their social strategy. Other constraints keeping them from strategic work include other business priorities, 45 percent; excess tactical work to handle, 29 percent; and lack of resources, 27 percent.

While 71 percent of all social marketers agree they are able to provide helpful insights to teams outside of their departments, only 12 percent of social teams say their primary function is to provide business insights for their entire organization.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should marketers have different goals for social media than traditional media? What advice would you have around optimizing the full potential of social media marketing?

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6 Comments on "Marketers work on solving the question of social media ROI"

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Paula Rosenblum

I suppose whatever the goal is for a Super Bowl ad should also be applied to social media. I say that because I have never once understood it beyond the ephemeral “brand awareness.”

At least on social media you can get a little more personal. It’d be nice if brands got more creative, too.

Georganne Bender

Social media is obviously here to stay, it has become as mainstream as traditional marketing, yet it still involves a lot of trial and error. Navigating social media isn’t easy; just when you get in a groove the rules change, plus customers are fickle. What worked for you last month might fall flat this month.

You can’t phone it in. To do it well you need a plan, plus a person (or team) who understands your business and is dedicated to the job of posting, running ads, and interacting with followers. What started out as a fun way to interact with each other has become a full time sport with a potentially huge payback.

Gene Detroyer

This discussion was going on 50 years ago, except the question revolved around traditional media. When the product manager asked the question, the advertising agencies got very scared. The last thing they wanted was to be measured. In fact, ROI on traditional media is very difficult to measure.

The good news is that social media brings more metrics. Actually, it brings more data than any human can deal with. But there is some substance there. I don’t know if it leads to true ROI, but if one picks the appropriate metrics to measure against, they will have more comfort than with traditional media.

Rich Kizer

I just read a report on younger demographics that claimed that younger customers are now spending up to 53 percent of their day in front of screens/on social media. If that is where the mass resides, make the play. But know what media outlets customer segments reside in most often, create a plan for them, and measure, measure, measure.

Lee Kent

My advice, as always, is to be where your customer is and do what your customer is doing. It’s not about selling to them or offering deals. It is about getting to know them and finding your place in their lives. It is often hard to measure results but at least digital offers more tools that help. For my 2 cents.

Ralph Jacobson

There is more tangible guidance around social marketing today than ever. If half of survey respondents don’t have a viable strategy, that’s the huge red flag here. To me, that’s the backbone of the whole process.


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