Value judgements: measuring returns on social media

Econsultancy and the Online Marketing Summit have produced a US-based report called the Value of Social Media that is based on a survey of more than 400 client-side marketers and agency respondents. And Andy Beal, founder and editor of MarketingPilgrim.com, took a gander, with his major observation being that 61 percent of the companies felt their measurement of the return on investment (ROI) from social media is either poor or very poor.

“It could well be that these companies are looking for ROI in the wrong places,” he says.

Source: Value of Social Media report

Sixty nine percent of those surveyed in the US said that Twitter is their most used social media channel, beating out other social media options such as a company blog, social networking and video.

It’s a staggering number, when you consider that Twitter is still in its infancy and arguably lacks any robust tools that businesses can use to their advantage. This high percentage of use suggests that companies are looking for the “easy” option, when it comes to social media. After all, it takes less than a minute to set up a Twitter account, whereas a corporate blog could take days–or weeks!

The other clue that Twitter has become the “bandwagon” of corporate social media, is the type of ROI that companies are trying to measure. The greatest percentage (63 percent) are measuring the direct traffic to their corporate site from Twitter.

Source: Value of Social Media report

While some companies – such as Dell – have had great success with generating traffic and sales from their efforts on Twitter, an even bigger benefit can be realised from the increase in brand awareness and reputation. Yet, only 15 percent of companies are measuring the impact of Twitter and Facebook on their brand perception, 18 percent measure customer satisfaction and 25 percent understand the benefits to their brand awareness.

“You could argue that more companies would find satisfaction in their ability to measure the ROI of social media if they turned their expectations from direct traffic and instead focused on the improvements they are making towards the sentiment of their brand.”

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