Study shows marketers still struggling with social media

There’s no question marketers like Facebook and are all atwitter about other social media channels, but even as these media channels mature, measuring their ROI remains elusive for many. In a new survey conducted by staffing agency The Creative Group, 250 Canadian marketing and advertising executives were asked “When it comes to implementing social media […]

There’s no question marketers like Facebook and are all atwitter about other social media channels, but even as these media channels mature, measuring their ROI remains elusive for many.

In a new survey conducted by staffing agency The Creative Group, 250 Canadian marketing and advertising executives were asked “When it comes to implementing social media initiatives, [what] would you consider to be the greatest challenge for your agency/firm?”

The number one response, picked by 27% of respondents, was “measuring or defining return on investment.”

“Most company executives want hard numbers. They want to be able to measure specific return on investment for a marketing plan when it’s implemented,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice-president of The Creative Group in Toronto. “And that’s very difficult because social media is relatively new.”

While marketers can easily track things like fans and followers, “there’s not necessarily a one-stop tool that will effectively measure and calculate an exact number of ‘X input will give you Y output.’ So it’s not easy.”

“When it comes to implementing social media initiatives, which of the following would you consider to be the greatest challenge for your agency/firm?”
• Measuring or defining return on investment – 27%
• Finding knowledgeable staff to execute social media tasks – 19%
• Gaining executive support for social media initiatives – 17%
• Finding budget for social media initiatives – 14%
• Nothing/no challenges – 18%
• Don’t know/no answer – 5%
• Other – 1%

Interestingly, The Creative Group also conducted the same survey in the U.S., where 40% of advertising and marketing executives said measuring ROI is the top challenge for social media marketing. Does that mean Canada is ahead on decoding ROI?

Dodo could only speculate, but said, “a lot of that social media trend started in the U.S., so they could be finding it more of a challenge because they’re further down the line of trying to use it for business return.”

While measuring ROI is the top challenge, finding knowledgeable staff to execute social media programs is ranked second, with 19% of both Canadian and American respondents saying it’s problematic.

“Social media is getting hotter every day, so if one in five is having a hard time today, what does that mean in six months, 12 months?” said Dodo. “The talent pool is not extensive because it’s a new skill set.”

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