If you’ve ever found yourself having to defend the merits of social media marketing, you’re officially not alone. A recent report on social media marketing in 2015 reveals the struggle that still exists in pinpointing the almighty ROI of social marketing to that skeptic saying “yes, I see what it does…but how does it help?” Usually that skeptic is the boss (in some way or another) and the answer is not so easy to nail down. Social media is proving to be a little slippery.
The newly released The State of Social Marketing 2015 report by Simply Measured cites three major challenges that were impacting social media marketing in 2015.
They are: 1. demonstrating the value of social programs within the company; 2. overall business integration; and 3. not having the right tools to measure social media activities.
Demonstrating the value of the social programs within the company (#1) was, in fact, the top challenge noted (60%) by survey participants consisting of 600 media marketing professionals. The reports states, “Companies of all sizes and maturity levels are struggling to prove the value of their social programs. Social media activities can be difficult to quantify, and marketers are trapped between readily available “vanity metrics,” such as Likes and followers, and difficult-to-measure objectives such as brand awareness.”
It goes on, “When it comes to understanding, proving, and quantifying value, social marketers are still trying to find the sweet spot.”
It’s logical to consider (as the report does) that the “sweet spot” could be found by addressing the challenge of #3. or “Not having the right tools to measure social media activities,” which according to the same 600 marketers, is a major frustration for those attempting to work with current analytics options. In addition, they noted the dissatisfaction with their current set of tools and the difficulty of interpreting the data they do have. And here’s the really frustrating bit, it’s hard to drum up enthusiasm and encourage further investment when the current tools or methods don’t allow marketers to provide highly accurate data which would, in turn, drum up enthusiasm and encourage further investment. And the wheel goes round and round.
Finding the right tool for the right job seems to be an essential part of the plan. In the area of data analytics tools, the report suggests either an inability to hone in on what is truly needed or simply an area that hasn’t been fully addressed in regards to tool development. According to the report, most surveyed are using multiple tools for tracking the various social media channels and as many as 65% said they were using the platform’s native analytics tool.
All that being said, the future looks very sunny for social marketing. Tools will emerge that address the needs of social media marketers. Social media marketers will become more adept at interpretation. Chances are both will occur (are occurring).
And whether the frustrations continue on or are assuaged in the coming year, it might not matter. As squishy as the analytics may appear to the bosses, they’ve seen enough “proof” to increase social marketing budgets, on average, by 12.5% over the next five years from 2015’s 9.9% to 22.4 in 2021.