Posts Tagged ‘eMarketer’
Social may be sexy, but search still pays the bills.
As reported below, organic search drives 51% of all visitors to both B2B and and B2C Web sites, while paid-search drives 10% (and social 5%, on average). 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine.
- • Do feed the gorilla. Search doesn’t only mean Google, but the elephant in the room can’t be ignored either. While everyone knows Google is the big dog, the magnitude of its dominance still amazes. Google accounted for nearly 40% of all U.S. digital ad spending last year, while Facebook’s share was about 8%; and Google’s advertising revenue is larger than that of the entire U.S. print industry.
- • Be like Avis. As the company’s iconic slogan went, “When you’re number two, you try harder.” Or rather in the case of organic search, you need to try harder. While it’s great to be #1—the top result still generates nearly one-third of all organic search clicks—the share garnered by results two through four has increased significantly in the last decade. No matter the slot though, the key to getting clicks from any rank below #1 is to craft top-notch meta titles and page descriptions.
- • Get creative. The top challenges in organic SEO are link building (easy-to-get links no longer have much value) and keyword research (the low-hanging fruit is long gone). To rank well today, use a web presence optimization (WPO) approach in order to earn high-quality links from online publications and industry influencers, and write to “be the best answer” to search queries rather than stuffing content with repetitive phrases.
- • Open your wallet. Marketers spend a lot of money online; overall, U.S. marketers will spend more than $103 billion on search, display, social media, and email marketing by 2019—but search will remain the largest share of interactive spend (about 44%). And in PPC search ads, 86% of all ad impressions accrue to the top four spots.
For more insights, check out these 21 SEO and search engine marketing stats from top experts including Caroline Nicander Mohr, Laurie Sullivan, Berrie Pelser, Rob Petersen, Melissa Hoffmann, and John A. Lee.
3 General Search and Google Stats and Facts
1. Google estimates that the Internet now contains roughly five million terabytes of data – but the search giant has indexed only 0.04% of it all. (The Wonder of Tech)
2. Integrating PPC and organic SEO efforts results on average in a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits over isolated or disconnected efforts. (Digital Marketing Philippines)
3. Google accounted for nearly 40% of all U.S. digital ad spending last year. Facebook’s share was about 8%. (eMarketer)
9 Organic SEO Stats and Facts
4. Lead generation (cited by 61% of corporate marketers) and Web site traffic (57%) are the top SEO objectives for marketers at enterprise companies in 2015. 54% want to improve traffic conversion rates. Just 24% cited attributing sales and revenue to SEO as a top goal. (MediaPost)
5. Organic search drives 51% of all visitors to business-to-business and business-to-consumer Web sites, whereas paid-search drives 10% and social 5%. (MediaPost)
6. Having video on the landing page of your site makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of Google. (41 Stories)
7. A URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. (Ber|Art)
8. Ranking near the top of search results is great, but if you want the click, your title and description better be top-notch also. In 2005, searchers spent just under 2 seconds, on average, viewing each listing; in 2014 that has dropped to 1.17 seconds. (MarketingProfs)
9. The top organic result still captures about the same amount of click activity (32.8%) as it did in 2005. However, organic results that are positioned in the 2nd through 4th slots now receive a significantly higher share of clicks than in 2005–63% vs. 48%. (MarketingProfs)
10. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine. (Biznology)
11. 72% of marketers from enterprises rate search engine optimization (SEO) as successful in achieving marketing objectives like lead generation and increased Web traffic. (MediaPost)
12. The top challenges in SEO are link building (cited by 41% of corporate marketers) and keyword research (39%). (MediaPost)
9 Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Facts and Statistics
13. Google’s advertising revenue is larger than that of the entire U.S. print industry. (The Wonder of Tech)
14. 30% of companies outsource their paid search advertising, and 28% do so for display advertising. (MediaPost)
15. Total internet advertising spending is growing 16% per year. Mobile accounts for 11% of the total. (TechCrunch)
16. 61% of CMOs say search engines are an effective marketing channel. (AdWeek)
17. Nearly half of digital marketing budgets are spent on search, with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. (MarketingProfs)
18. In PPC search ads, 86% of all ad impressions accrue to the top four spots. (ClickZ)
19. Overall, U.S. marketers will spend more than $103 billion on search, display, social media, and email marketing by 2019 — growing at a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) — but search will remain the largest share of interactive spend. (MediaPost)
20. U.S. spending on search marketing will reach $31.6 billion in 2015. (MediaPost)
21. U.S. spending on paid search and organic optimization will top $45 billion by 2019. (MediaPost)
This was post #3 of Marketing Stats Summer (#statssummer) on Webbiquity.
#3: 21 Spectacular SEO and Search Marketing Stats and Facts
75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process1, and 88% of marketing professionals believe social media is important to their companies2. Yet social media accounts for just 11% of digital marketing budgets3, on average, and 56% of marketers don’t do any paid promotion on social media4.
Can’t get enough of stats like those? Then you’ll love the next seven sizzling summer weeks (except for the week after Independence Day in the U.S., when no one’s really paying attention), starting tomorrow, of posts containing dozens of fascinating stats and facts about digital marketing, social networks, SEO, email / mobile, content marketing and more.
Along the lines of this spring’s blogging for business series here, this series will share findings and insights from some of the top minds and voices in digital and web marketing, including Heidi Cohen, Michael Brenner, Marissa Pick, Frank Strong, Shelly Kramer, and Lee Odden.
The reporting and revelations kick off tomorrow with 34 Compelling Content Marketing Stats and Facts.
2. Are Social Media Marketers Losing Confidence?, eMarketer
3. State of Search Results: Budgeting Trends [Infographic], MarketingProfs
4. The State of Social Media for PR Pros, Cision
Though social media marketing is now used in about 90% of companies, techniques, platforms and best practices continue to evolve. Should you include Pinterest in your mix? Increase use of video marketing? Is blogging coming back or trailing off? What will likely be the hot trends in social media over the next couple of years?
Marketers have questions, this post has answers: 87 vital social media and online marketing statistics covering everything from how executives and large companies are using social media for marketing, customer service and recruiting to fresh stats on the leading social media platforms to search, email, content and mobile marketing trends.
The recent 72 Fascinating Social Media Stats post on JeffBullas.com was one of my post popular guest posts ever, so here is an entirely new set of social media stats, facts and research findings.
Social Media Stats and Demographics
1. Social media accounts for only 16% of customer engagement today, but is expected to increase to 57%—the second-most used channel, behind only face to face interaction—within five years. (Marketing Pilgrim)
2. 30% of the world’s entire population is now online, and social networking is the most popular and time consuming online activity—with users spending more than one fifth (22%) of their time engaging on social media channels. This means that more than 250 million tweets and 800 million Facebook status updates are now published every single day. (MindJumpers)
3. Brazilians have the highest number of online friends of any country, averaging 481 friends per user, while the Japanese average only 29 friends. (MindJumpers)
4. 56% of Americans have a profile on at least one social networking site. And it’s not just millenials; 55% of those aged 45-54 have at least one social network profile. (Convince & Convert)
5. Social networks and blogs In the U.S reach nearly 80% of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online. (MediaPost)
6. 60% of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter. (MediaPost)
7. 90% of marketers now use social networks in their marketing efforts, but growth has plateaued; the figure was 89% in 2011. (eMarketer)
8. Half of all social media users are between 25 and 44 years old, but the age distribution varies widely across social networks. Reddit and Tumblr are among the “youngest” networks, with half or more of users under 35 years old. Twitter is about in the middle (55% of users age 35 or older) while 65% of Facebook users are over 35 (didn’t this start with college students?) and LinkedIn is the “oldest” network, with 79% of users age 35 and older. (Pingdom)
9. Women tend to be somewhat more present and active on social media than men, though the shares vary widely by site. Men tend to dominate on technical sites (e.g., Slashdot is almost 90% guys); LinkedIn is close to a 50-50 split; Twitter and Facebook are both about 40% male / 60% female; and women account for almost 90% of Pinterest users. (Pingdom)
10. Social media and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. Internet users. 91% of experienced social marketers see improved website traffic due to social media and 79% are generating more quality leads. (Business2Community)
11. 90% of companies with 100 or more employees use social media in their marketing mix. 83% use Facebook and 53% are on Twitter, though that gap is expected to narrow by 2014 due to rapid growth in Twitter use. (eMarketer)
Social Media in the Enterprise
12. Just 23% of Fortune 500 companies maintain an active blog, vs. 37% of Inc. 500 firms. (V3 Integrated Marketing)
13. 35% of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies have a corporate blog compared to 14 percent of those Fortune 500 companies in the bottom 300-500 of the category, i.e., top companies devote more attention to their corporate blogs than those in the bottom of the pack. (V3 Integrated Marketing)
14. 62% of Fortune 500 companies have an active Twitter account, while 58% maintain a corporate Facebook page. (V3 Integrated Marketing)
15. Looking at five leading social networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest), Fortune 100 company names are mentioned more than 10 million times per month. (Digital Buzz Blog)
16. The average Fortune 100 company is mentioned nearly 56,000 times per month On Twitter. (Digital Buzz Blog)
17. 87 of the Fortune 100 companies are now active on at least one social network. 82 use Twitter, 75 have a Facebook page, 50 are on Google+ and 25% use Pinterest. (Digital Buzz Blog)
18. To accommodate different product lines, business units and geographies, the average Fortune 100 company now maintains 10 official corporate Twitter accounts, 10 Facebook pages and eight YouTube channels. (Digital Buzz Blog)
19. Fortune 500 companies tend to be antisocial. Less than half of Fortune 500 businesses provide a link to their Facebook profile or Twitter handle on the Contact Us page of their Web sites. About 27% of consumer-facing Fortune 500 corporations do not list social media channels on their Web site home page, 89% do not list an e-mail address on their site, and 13% don’t list a phone number on their Contact Us page. (MediaPost)
Social Media Use in the C-Suite
20. 71% of consumers say that CEO participation in social media leads to improved brand image. (41 Stories)
21. Only 3.2% of Fortune 500 (largest companies) CEOs have a Twitter account compared with 17% of Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) CEOs. (41 Stories)
22. 52% of CEOs who are active in social media say that it helps their companies rise in search rankings, and 48% say that social media has generated qualified sales leads. (41 Stories)
23. Though 94% of corporations use social media in some way and 58% of executives acknowledge that social media is useful for lead generation and developing brand loyalty, 70% of CEOs have no presence on any social network. 26% are on LinkedIn, 8% have a Facebook page and just 4% use Twitter. (Business Insider)
24. This is the case even though 82% of buyers say they are more likely to trust a company whose top executive is active on social media, and 81% of employees believe that social CEOs are better leaders. (Business Insider)
Social Media and Human Resources
25. 40% of organizations have a formal social media policy, and 56% of those policies include a statement regarding the organization’s right to monitor social media usage. More than a third (39%) of companies monitor their employees social media use on company-owned computers and handheld devices. (Resume Bear)
26. 92% of recruiters use social media to find new candidates, up from 82% in 2010. And 73% now say they have successfully hired through social media, up significantly from just 58% two years ago. (Ragan.com)
27. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn is the most popular social network among recruiters, with 93% using it. 66% use Facebook while 54% utilize Twitter. More dramatically, 89% of recruiters say that LinkedIn has produced at least one successful hire for them, compared to 25% who say the same of Facebook and just 15% who’ve had recruiting success with Twitter. (Ragan.com)
28. 20% of all pageviews on the web are on Facebook. (Jeff Bullas)
29. Half of all Facebook users use it on mobile devices, at least occasionally. (Jeff Bullas)
30. More than 500 million people log in to Facebook each day, and they collectively post 3.2 billion likes and comments. (Jeff Bullas)
31. Social media fatigue? Though 20% of Facebook users say they check in on the social network once or twice per day, 52% plan to spend less time there in the future. (SodaHead)
32. 73% of users believe that another social network will eclipse Facebook. (SodaHead)
33. Twitter attracts one million new users per day. (Jeff Bullas)
34. Of Twitter’s 165 million users, half access Twitter on mobile devices at least occasionally. (HubSpot)
35. 53% of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19% for Facebook. (Convince & Convert)
36. 76% of Twitter users are active tweeters, up from 47% in 2010. (Convince & Convert)
37. Want to get retweeted more often? Research shows that keywords which increase the likelihood of retweeting include “please,” “thank you,” “Twitter,” “social media” and “you.” Words to avoid include “lol,” gonna,” “hey,” “tired,” “work” and “bored.” (iMedia Connection)
38. Twitter users now post 340 million tweets per day, or roughly a billion tweets every three days. (Digital Buzz Blog)
39. Two news users join LinkedIn every second. (Jeff Bullas)
40. 75 of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn in their corporate hiring process. (HubSpot)
YouTube and Video Marketing Trends
41. YouTube is the third-most-visited site on the web, with two billion views per day. (Jeff Bullas)
42. YouTube use accounts for 10% of all traffic on the Internet. (Jeff Bullas)
43. 76% of marketers said they planned to increase use of video and YouTube in 2012. (HubSpot)
44. There are 1.5 million business-related searches on YouTube each day, and 75% of senior executives say they watch work-related videos at least weekly. (Earnest B2B)
45. Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages. And companies with more indexed pages generate far more leads from search. (Search Engine Journal)
46. The very first blogs appeared in 1998, and Blogger.com was launched in 1999. By 2006, there were more than 50 million blogs in existence. (HubSpot)
48. B2C companies who blog regularly see an 88% increase in median monthly leads and B2B companies who blog see a 67% increase in leads. (V3 Integrated Marketing)
49. Roughly 60% of business blogs are updated at least twice per week. (Marketing Charts)
50. Another study found that while 60% of businesses have a blog, only 35% of those (i.e., 21% of all businesses) actively maintain them. (New Media Expo Blog)
Content Marketing Findings
52. The most popular forms of content marketing for B2B companies are social media excluding blogs (79%) and article posting (78%). 51% maintain blogs, 42% conduct webinars and webcasts, and 41% produce videos. Just 11% use mobile content and only 9% create eBooks. (Earnest B2B)
53. However, 71% of B2B marketers view in-person events as effective while only 31% say the same about social media excluding blogs. (Earnest B2B)
54. Relevance is critical is content marketing. 45% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails due to irrelevant content, and on the B2B side, IT buyers say that 58% of vendor content is not relevant to them, and that this lack of relevance reduces the chance of closing a sale by 45%. (MarketingSherpa)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Facts
55. 70% of the links search users click on are organic. (This is an overall average, however, and the share of clicks on paid results is considerably higher for many commercially oriented searches.) (Search Engine Journal)
56. 46% of all searches are for information about products or services. (HubSpot)
57. 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of results (which also means of course that 25% do). (Search Engine Journal)
58. 93% of online experiences (including b2b and considered purchases) begin with a search engine. (Search Engine Journal)
59. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (HubSpot)
60. 66% of new customers use search and online research to find local businesses. (HubSpot)
61. 21% of all time spent online is spent on web searches. (MindJumpers)
62. It’s probably no surprise that the big three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo!) are among the five most-visited sites on the Internet. But consider that AOL is #7 and Ask is #10, meaning that…five of the top 10 most-visited sites on the web are search engines. (MindJumpers)
63. B2B companies that maintain active content (e.g., bloogging) and SEO programs increased their total website traffic, on average, by 25% in the past year, while those who neglected SEO (either never did it or did SEO only as a one-time effort at site launch) experienced an average 15% decline in overall visits. (Webbiquity)
64. How big is the SEO industry? Well, there are 863 million websites globally that mention “SEO.” There are 9.1 million searches conducted including the acronym each month, with the top two phrases being “SEO services” and “SEO company.” More than 60,000 Twitter users include “SEO” in their bios, there have been 13 million blog posts published that include “SEO” in the title, and Amazon.com carries almost 2,700 different books about SEO. (Search Engine Journal)
65. While it’s vital for marketers to integrate search and social in terms of their strategies, it turns out consumers don’t like the two actually mixed in search results. 62% say they do not want social results included on search engine result pages (SERPs), while just 19% do. (Search Engine Watch)
66. If social results are going to be included on SERPs, consumers prefer Bing’s layout (social off to the right side) rather than Google’s layout (social mixed with organic results), 63% to 37%. However, by a 5-to-3 margin, consumers preferred Google’s display of universal search results. (Search Engine Watch)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Online Advertising
67. Every marketer knows that click-through rates on banner ads are very low. Why? 31% of users say they are worried if they click on an ad that their behavior will be tracked, while 57% fear they will receive spam from advertisers. (Get Elastic)
68. The average person is more likely to apply and be accepted by Harvard or be dealt a full house in poker than to click on a banner ad. (Get Elastic)
69. There are more tweets each month that include “PPC” (282,000) than there are that include “SEO” (248,000), though there are most searches on and blog posts written about SEO. (Search Engine Journal)
70. Click-through rates (CTR) on search ads for keyword phrases with “high commercial intent’ are up to 600 times greater than average CTR for ads on a typical Facebook page. (e-Strategy Trends)
Mobile Marketing Statistics
71. There are about four billion mobile phones in use. Of those, 27% (1.08 billion) are smartphones. (HubSpot)
72. 50% of all smartphone users use their devices to search the web, and 49% use them for social networking. (HubSpot)
73. 8% of web hits worldwide are from mobile phones. In the US, 25% of mobile Web users are mobile-only. Further, 80% of this traffic will leave if your website isn’t optimized for mobile–a good case for having a mobile-friendly website. (Heidi Cohen)
74. Do some research and consider carefully before investing in design and creation of a mobile app for your business. A quarter of all mobile apps are used only once. (Heidi Cohen)
75. 74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3% have ever checked in. (Convince & Convert)
76. One in four employees use personal smartphones at work. (Earnest B2B)
77. Almost 40% of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone at least occasionally. (MediaPost)
78. Mobile and video are the two hottest growth areas in marketing. 17% of marketers say they’ve been using mobile marketing for less than a year, while another 17% plan to start using it in the coming year. The figures are 14% and 10%, respectively, for video marketing. (eMarketer)
79. In a July 2012 survey, 26% of respondents said they were interested in the iPhone5, while 74% said they were “over it”–just not that intrigued by another new Apple device. (SodaHead)
Email Marketing Facts
80. Nearly one billion Internet users are on Facebook. But 3.1 billion use email. (HubSpot)
81. Less than one out of five email marketers include social sharing links in their emails. Of those, 91% include a Facebook link while nearly half include Twitter. (HubSpot)
82. 19% of all time spent online is spent on reading and responding to emails. (MindJumpers)
Other Social and Marketing Stats
83. Instagram tripled its user base from 10 million in September 2011 to 30 million by April 2012. Its Android app had one million downloads on the day it was released. (Jeff Bullas)
84. 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook “likes” are from women. (Jeff Bullas)
85. Google+ adds 625,000 new users each day. (Jeff Bullas)
86. 67% of Google+ users are male. (Jeff Bullas)
87. A majority of marketers worldwide say that less than half of all the analytics data they collect is actually useful for decision-making, and 34% say analytics are not integrated at all with their business plans. (eMarketer)
Can the financial return on expenditures for social media business activities– in marketing, PR, customer support, HR, product development or other areas — be accurately measured? Can social media costs be justified on the P&L, so that as belts get ever tighter in this stagnant economy, these projects and tasks can be spared the budget axe?
Among social media pundits, the debate rages on. The “yes” crowd argues that of course social media can be measured, and must be in order to demonstrate value to the business. You wouldn’t buy a new machine tool or enterprise software application without an ROI analysis, so why should social media be any different? Executives don’t care about shiny sparkly things or the latest fads or buzzwords; you’d better know what you want to accomplish, be able to quantify both expenses and revenue, and have the analytics in place to track results before even murmuring the words “social media” in the presence of C-level types.
The “no” group will counter that the metrics and tools haven’t yet matured, or that social media is too amorphous to even be measurable, or that it is rapidly becoming simply part of the plumbing or wiring of a modern organization, making ROI immaterial.
My own thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the matter are that:
- • It’s challenging to measure the true ROI of social media activities with any precision because social media is as much (if not more) about influence than direct action. For example, if John Doe clicks through to your website from a tweet and buys something, that’s easy to measure. But if John Doe is influenced to buy from you based a tweet—but completes the purchase through another unrelated channel—there’s no way to assign the value of that sale to Twitter.
- • That said, there are many aspects of social media that can and should be measured, both to show results and to help guide future activities (e.g. determining which topics generate the highest traffic and comment activity on a company blog, what time of day is most productive for tweeting, etc.). In other words, the statement “ROI is challenging to measure accurately” shouldn’t be confused with “don’t bother trying measure anything.”
- • Metrics can be useful to help determine what to do more of, less of, or differently, but should not as the basis for whether or not to engage in social media. At this point, the adoption of social media tools is so widespread as to constitute just another communication channel. It makes no more sense for a business to shun social media until ROI can be demonstrated than it does to demand an ROI analysis for installing phone lines or email.
So much for my thoughts. What do other pundits have to say? Below are summaries of a variety of posts on the topic of social media ROI measurement from luminaries such as Danny Brown, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Michelle Golden and Sharlyn Lauby divided into their respective camps: yes, no, and maybe.
Is social media ROI measurable? Yes.
The Real Cost of Social Media by Danny Brown
This isn’t strictly speaking an ROI article, but Danny does dive into the “I” part of that measure, detailing the true costs (investment) of social media participation.
20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns by Search Engine Land
Chris Bennett lays out the list of metrics he uses to analyze, track and “prove ROI’ from social media marketing. Compelling piece except for his use of the phrase social media campaign (argh).
Kim Cornwall Malseed summarizes the social media wisdom and ROI results gleaned from a panel of b2b marketing pros including Holger Schulze of SafeNet, Frank Strong of Vocus and Susan Cato of CompTIA. She reports on the revenue achieved, social media strategies used and measurement systems employed for tracking.
ROI: How to Measure Return on Investment in Social Media by Social Media Today
In this long but worthwhile post, Brian Solis reviews the evolution of social media measurement forms (e.g. “return on engagement”), the disconnect between social media marketers (most of whom can’t measure ROI) and CMOs (most of whom expect it), then offers his recommendations for improving the measurement of business objectives from social media.
While acknowledging that tight precision is impossible because the same measures from different tools rarely match exactly (and multiple tools are still needed to end-to-end social media tracking), Angel Djambazov nevertheless makes a strong case for developing ROI metrics for social media campaigns. Quoting Brian Solis and others, Angel points out that particularly in this economy, even great ideas without a hard-number rationale are likely to get slashed; ROI measurements are needed because CMOs demand them. The post also includes some strategies, tactics and tools to assist in social media measurement.
Social Media Monitoring Techniques by WebFadds
Scott Frangos presents a concise but clear outline of basic social media ROI measurement objectives, tools and analytics.
Counterpoint: Why you can calculate an ROI in social media – and why you should do it by iMedia Connection
Uwe Hook responds to the post from Ben Cathers (in the “No” section below) on why social media ROI can’t be measured, laying out a roadmap using metrics such as frequency, yield, sentiment analysis, NetPromoter score and customer lifetime value.
Socialnomics: What Social Media Success Looks Like by Fuel Lines
Michael Gass shares a social media ROI argument in video format. “Socialnomics: Social Media ROI showcases what social media success looks like. Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business author Erik Qualman. This video highlights several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies.” Though a few of the examples are vague or misleading, most are compelling. However, after showcasing companies that have achieved remarkable, quantifiable results through social media, Qualman provocatively asks, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and more an extension of good business ethics…When I’m asked about the ROI of Social Media sometimes the appropriate response is…What’s the ROI of your phone?” He seems to suggest that while ROI is measurable, it’s immaterial. Hmm. You can find more of Eric’s insights on his Socialnomics blog.
Making sense of social-media ROI with Olivier Blanchard by SmartBlog on Social Media
Rob Birgfeld talks with Olivier Blanchard, introduced as “perhaps the most sought-after expert for those looking to connect the dots between social media and return-on-investment.” Perhaps. Blanchard contends that most self-proclaimed social media “experts” have difficulty articulating ROI because they have no business management background (agreed, I’ve seen these types — which is why our agency has an MBA who helps clients with social media). With that background, he argues that “the question can be answered in about three minutes. All it takes is someone on the social-media side of the table who understands how to plug new communications into a business from the C-suite’s perspective.” He also makes the case that being able to prove social media ROI is essential. The post just doesn’t specify how to do this.
Social Media ROI — No.
Social media (finally) returns value by The Communicator
Peter Schram doesn’t come right out and say that social media ROI can’t be measured, but rather that organizations should “focus on five key areas where social media will create actual value” that aren’t strictly about sales ROI, including corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer service.
“What’s the ROI of Social Media?” Is the Wrong Question by Golden Practices Blog
Michelle Golden makes a compelling argument that ROI calculations apply only to discrete projects with a beginning, middle and end, such as a direct mail campaign. Social media is a tool, not an event, so such calculations don’t apply.
5 Problems With Measuring Social Marketing by Web Worker Daily
Aliza Sherman articulates some of the frustrations with any social media measurement, much less something as precise as ROI, including the fact that the term “social media” is nebulous and that many traditional marketing concepts (e.g., “reach,” “promotions” and “campaigns”) simply don’t apply to social media –and the industry hasn’t yet developed widely accepted new measures (though Daniel Flamberg attempted to answer this last challenge in 4 Social Media Mining Metrics).
Why you can’t calculate an ROI in social media – and that’s okay by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers argues that, because the advanced analytics tools that would be required for such measurement have not yet been developed, “In many forms of digital media, you can spend 1 dollar knowing you will earn 1.30…Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in social media, just yet.” He suggests instead that marketers estimate the payback on social media by assigning a value to metrics they can track, such as each follower, each retweet, each “like” of an item, etc.
CEOs Love Pie: The B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 2 by iMedia Connection
In this follow-up post to Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1, Eric Anderson writes that “today you can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting five blog posts about how we all need to simmer down about ROI,” and places himself firmly in the “simmer down” camp. He recommends instead serving them pie, as in pie charts showing measures like “the proportion of their paid impressions that can be replaced or augmented with free impressions. PR agencies have long been selling the value of this pie as earned media or ‘ad equivalency value,’ so CEOs are used to seeing it. They get it. Once you’ve done your social media market analysis, it’s relatively easy to project how big that social media pie wedge will be.”
Social Media ROI…Maybe.
Quantifying Social Results by eMarketer
eMarketer reports that while marketing pros generally agree that quantifying the benefit of social media marketing is important, they are split on whether it is possible. Measuring certain types of activity or behavior is easy; translating those measures into ROI, not so much. As this article notes, “There is a leap, however, between finding appropriate metrics and monitoring them on the one hand, and quantifying results on the other. Marketers must tie the social metrics they settle on directly to business goals, such as increased sales and leads, before social media return on investment can be quantified.”
A call for more accountable social media marketing by iMedia Connection
After acknowledging that “ROI is difficult, if not impossible, to measure with social media. An astounding majority of professionals do not even try to take it into account. According to a survey late last year from Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club, 72 percent of CMOs did not attach revenue assumptions to social media in 2009,” Jerry McLaughlin goes on to say that marketers must do it anyway. For example, one of his recommendations is to “reach specific social media goals with a tangible ROI, such as tracked discounts or coupons.” While that’s certainly not a bad suggestion, it covers only one very limited aspect of what social media marketing can do.
5 Ways To Set Goals & Measure Social Media Marketing Success by Smart Insights
Danyl Bosomworth summarizes a Jason Falls presentation on various ways to measure social media outcomes. While the post seems to suggest that measuring ROI is easy (measurement #5 casually includes “generation of sales and leads from blog visitors and from social interactions”), it also points out several other benefits that unquestionably have value (e.g., product innovation, branding and awareness, links for SEO benefit), though that value may be difficult to quantify. The message seems to be that if you can directly measure sales and leads then by all means do so, but recognize that social media can provide many other important though less quantifiable rewards.
Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media by Marketing Charts
According to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42 summarized in this post, most marketers perform some type of social media measurement (e.g., website visits from social media referral sites, new fans/followers, number of links shared, etc.). However, nearly half (43%) admit that they aren’t even trying to measure ROI. And only 29% say “they will have to show positive ROI to continue their social media programs.”
How CEOs are Using Social Media for Real Results by Mashable
Though Sharlyn Lauby shares numbers here from two CEOs able to correlate hard sales data with their social media efforts, she also points out that “even when there might not be data supporting a direct relationship between social media activity and sales, sometimes other metrics point to the connection” such as exposure, branding, customer satisfaction, recommendations, even employee recruiting. The conclusion seems to be that ROI may or may not be measurable, depending on a company’s specific circumstances — or at least that not all of the benefits of social media can be captured in precise sales and ROI figures.