Study: Social Media Marketing Remains Experimental

survey social mediaA new study of marketers by Gleansight revealed that despite the growing interest and mainstream adoption of social media, the marketing activities are still experimental. Marketers are using different tactics to grow sales or foster brand advocacy but most have still to show real ROI on their efforts.

The most important objectives are tied to real transactions and effective marketing activities. The reasons why companies want to implement social media diverse but the top reasons are to increase:

  • customer acquisition 93%;
  • return on marketing investment 90%;
  • customer advocacy 87%;
  • customer engagement 79%.

I believe that advocacy and engagement drive the customer acquisition and marketing effectiveness. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to concentrate on the value to customers and getting the conversation going. The financial results come from these activities. Interestingly “increasing customer loyalty” was only ninth with 62% of respondents mentioning this as a reason to implement social media marketing.

The most important value drivers mentioned by the respondents are:

  • 94% give consumers a good reason to want to share brand related content;
  • 86% identify and engage top influencers;
  • 85% leverage the reach and multiplier effect of social networks.

One item that surprised me by being seventh on the value driver list is the “integrate social media with other media buys and campaigns”. Seems that a lot of social media marketing is being done separately form other marketing activities. I believe that integrating multiple channels is the way to get better ROI out of all marketing. Social media will accumulate the brand image communicated in other channels.

In essence broadcast media and one directional channels pointed at consumers should generate interest that will be captured and amplified by the social media and network effect. Doing different channels separately is wasteful. Social media activities alone might not be sufficient to get the ball rolling but with the help of the broadcast media it could be easier to go viral.

Two of the most challenging aspects of social media marketing mentioned in the study are:

  • 94% creating “viral worthty” content
  • 92% effectively promoting social media marketing campaigns

I think that concentrating too much on the viral side of the social media marketing gets the focus off more important things such as integrating social media into the overall marketing mix.

The survey shows that marketers are measuring most what’s easiest to measure. 86% of the respondents cite “audience growth rate, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc) as the performance metric they use. This is followed by “consumer engagement rate – number of click-thrus, registrations, etc” that is performance metric for 81% of the respondents. “Return on the marketing investment” is sixth with 62%. This is odd as most surveys I have seen and conducted put that number somewhere around 35-45%.

I think that this study shows that social media marketing is still an outsider. Integrating with other channels is accidental at best and there’s no real strategy how to capture more value from traditional channels by enhancing the experience socially.

I see social media as a brand platform that accumulates the attention generated in other channels. A great marketer can then take that accumulated brand value and boost it even further.

Image credit Matt Hamm

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

3 Responses

  1. Sachin Gupta says:

    Nice Social media influence through article. Thanks for sharing…

  2. Interesting article on social media. I can agree, as much as it’s taken off, social media is still very much in it’s experimental stage. I think that’s partly due to it’s unrelenting evolvement. Social media trends are constantly changing.

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