2012 State of Social Media Marketing:Social Media Measurement, Objectives,and Budget ImplicationsSponsored by
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 2May 2, 2012Dear Fellow Marketer,There’s a clear disconnect between the perceived value marketers get from social media and theirability to demonstrate and act on that value, but it doesn’t have to be that way.To prove it, Lithium teamed up with MarketingProfs to delve more thoroughly into the issue ofsocial media marketing ROI, surveying over 450 marketers around how they use social media andwhat exactly they realize from their efforts. What we found were sometimes subtle and sometimessigniﬁcant differences in the ways in which marketers approach measurement in the ﬁrst place,and that the approach made all the difference.Marketers who have graduated from counting social KPIs (like fans and followers) to measuringreal business outcomes (like driving word of mouth marketing and accelerating innovation) arethose that drive the most impressive ROI. More experienced marketers who focus on long-termstrategic goals such as community building and increasing brand awareness are unlocking the fullpotential of social media and struggling less with demonstrating ROI than their less experiencedcohorts.But we already knew that. We knew it from our nearly 10 years of experience working with today’stop social brands like AT&T, Best Buy, Sephora. Lithium’s Social Customer Experience suiteenables marketers to unlock the full potential of working with their social customers. Our SaaS-based software helps companies listen comprehensively to their social customers, engage withthem, grow brand advocacy, harness their ideas for product innovations—and measure ROI in realdollar terms against real business objectives.A special thanks to MarketingProfs for helping us to test our theory and prove it correct. Socialmedia marketing ROI need not be so elusive for so many. Leading-edge technology plus a mature,strategic approach to social media marketing puts us squarely on the path to nailing social mediamarketing ROI.Enjoy the report!Sincerely,Katy Keim, Lithium Chief Marketing Ofﬁcer
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 3Executive SummaryIn just two years, the focus of social media marketing has shifted signiﬁcantly from mereparticipation to driving value and convincing management that social media initiativesare having a meaningful impact on the overall business. Now, with its prominentrole in the marketing arsenal, social media is charged with a greater responsibility indemonstrating how it contributes to the bottom line. Marketers have quickly turnedto ROI as the equalizing metric, however, an over-emphasis on ROI has led somemarketers to implement “hard sell” tactics that do not resonate well in social mediaenvironments. Understanding the role of social media in the marketing funnel as adriving of brand awareness will help marketers address the measurement gap thathas emerged between management’s expectations and marketers’ ability to measureagainst those expectations.This report explores these issues in order to bring clarity to the relationship betweensocial media’s objectives (e.g., brand awareness) and the desired metrics (e.g., ROI), aswell as how integration with other marketing channels—with more well-established anddirect metrics (e.g., search, company website and email)—will bridge the disconnect.When social media marketers can effectively track the success of their programs throughcross-channel integration using metrics that resonate with the company’s C-suite, theycan demonstrate the true success of their programs and improve the investment intheir social media initiatives.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 4Change in Actively Managed Social Networks2009 to 2012 (MarketingProfs)2009 201286%84%72%69%2%48%43%39%26%8%Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube MySpaceSource: MarketingProfsSection 1: IntroductionWhere are we in the evolution of social mediamarketing?Two years ago, when MarketingProfs published its lastreport on the State of Social Media, the social mediamarketing landscape looked vastly different. Conversationsabout marketing with social media centered on whether ornot to jump on the bandwagon given the astronomicalgrowth rates of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.Some marketers were struggling to convince managementof the value and necessity of social media as a marketingplatform, while others were waiting to see what, if anything,all of the hype would amount to. At that time, just slightlymore than half of the companies surveyed reported thattheir company maintained a corporate proﬁle on at leastone social media site. Facebook led the way with 48%,followed by 43% on Twitter and 39% with a presence onLinkedIn.Since then, the conversation has shifted from participa-tion to value. The vast majority of companies now reportmaintaining a presence in social media. The same threesites lead the way, but the use of these sites has nearlydoubled in just over 2 years—86% of companies maintaina Facebook presence, 84% are active on Twitter, and 72%show up on LinkedIn.With social media now a staple in the marketing mix,marketers have shifted their focus from establishing apresence toward addressing how to create meaningfulengagement with consumers, how to measure it, and howto connect these activities to their impact on the bottomline. The majority of social media marketers surveyed(71%) say they are now concerned with demonstratingvalue to upper management. As social media marketingbegins to come of age and marketers begin asking forlarger budgets for their programs, they must quantify thesuccess of these programs using metrics that resonatewith the company’s C-suite.The goal of this ﬁrst report on the 2012 State of SocialMedia research study is to provide marketers with insightsthat will help navigate this new reality. Speciﬁcally, we willaddress the following questions:1. Deﬁning Objectives: Which objectives are socialmedia marketers using to guide their efforts insocial media?2. Delivering to the C-Suite: Which objectives doesmanagement expect to achieve through socialmedia? What metrics do they consider importantwhen considering additional investment in socialmedia?3. The Measurement Gap: How well are marketersable to measure the things management consid-ers important? How wide is the gap between whatmarketers can measure and what management islooking for?4. Measurement Tools: Which tools are being usedto measure the effectiveness of social media?5. Investing in Social Media: How can marketersdemonstrate success and improve the overallinvestment in social media initiatives in the future?86% of companies maintain a Facebook presence,84% are active on Twitter, and 72% show up onLinkedIn.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 5Section 2: Deﬁning the ObjectiveThe Social Media Marketing FunnelMarketers often have multiple objectives for their socialmedia programs. When evaluating these common objec-tives, it turns out that they correspond with the stages of atypical sales funnel. Starting at the top of the funnel, 91%of marketers list “brand awareness” as one of the coreobjectives of their social media program. The percentageof marketers targeting objectives related to downstreamactivities, including increasing purchase consideration(57%), driving direct sales online (46%) and ofﬂine (33%)and driving CRM activities (31%), decreases as we movefurther down the sales funnel.In addition to the fact 91% of marketers cite brand aware-ness as one of the objectives of their social media pro-grams, 66% cite “increasing positive mentions of theirbrand online” as one of the objectives. This supplementsthe larger goal of brand awareness, since personal recom-mendations from a trusted network of friends and familyhas the beneﬁt of driving awareness of the brand virally.The second most common objective, driving visitors tobrand websites (78%), serves as further evidence of thefact that marketers are focused on ﬁlling the top of thefunnel through social media. Driving website trafﬁc is alogical and natural outcome of increased brand aware-ness. It is also signiﬁcantly easier to measure the impactof increased site trafﬁc on the bottom line than it is tomeasure the impact of brand awareness on business per-formance. To this end, it is important that marketers rec-ognize the inherent challenges in calculating the ROI ofbrand awareness. Consider, for example, the challengesin calculating the ROI of a television advertisement or de-termining the value of sponsoring a sports venue. It canbe done, but these calculations are not linear and needto account for external factors that are difﬁcult to isolate.MethodologySurvey data for the 2012 update of Marketing-Profs’ State of Social Media Marketing reportwas collected in two distinct phases:Phase 1 kicked off in November 2011 withqualitative interviews from select social mediaexperts as recognized in the larger market-ing community. In order to make the insightsfrom this report more grounded and action-oriented, we identiﬁed “hot topics” from theseinterviews that are currently relevant for pro-fessionals working in social media. Their inputwas incorporated into the survey and servedas a guide for the topics that will be coveredin the 2012 series of reports.The experts interviewed represent a cross sec-tion of social media professionals includingindependent consultants, writers and editors,researchers, platform representatives, andclient-side practitioners.• Experts:Mark Amtower, Amtower & CompanyRebecca Corliss, HubSpotJason Falls, Social Media ExplorerAnn Handley, MarketingProfsNichole Kelly, Full Frontal ROIMatt Magee, SearchEngineLandTom Martin, HelpMyBrand.comJeff Rohrs, ExactTarget)Jordan Viator Slabaugh, SpredfastAaron Strout, WCGDJ Waldow, Waldow SocialAaron Weber, InventiPhase 2 began in February 2012 with thelaunch of a survey to MarketingProfs readers.Screeners required people to indicate theyhave social media marketing responsibilitiesin their current professional role. In total,459 marketers made it through the initialset of screeners. Of those that passed thescreeners, 256 (56%) completed the entire20-minute survey.“...social media increases the likelihood forconsumers to put your product into theirconsideration set.”–Aaron Strout, WCG57% of social media marketers cite “Increasing purchaseconsideration of the brand” as another common objec-tive. This objective serves as the bridge between brandawareness and direct sales and is an area where socialmedia shines according to Aaron Strout, WCG, “socialmedia increases the likelihood for consumers to put yourproduct into their consideration set.”
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 6The lowest-ranked objectives of this study were recruit-ment, CRM and surveying customers for market or prod-uct research. This lack of emphasis on social media asa research tool suggests that marketers may think likeHenry Ford, who famously said, “If I’d asked customerswhat they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.”Whether or not Mr. Ford was right, marketers who aren’tlooking to social media for insights about their customersare likely missing out some key beneﬁts of gathering thiskind of data. One major strength of social media is its abil-ity to give brands access to groups and communities ofconsumers interested in their brand. These communitiescan easily be leveraged to provide input on a brand’s prod-ucts and positioning. This feedback can give marketersclues about existing attitudes toward a brand or product,and can help them course-correct or change strategies.Some consumer feedback happens publicly, while othercrucial information requires more nuanced methods. “Youcan do a lot of ethnography through linguistics in social[media], because it’s mostly a text-based medium,” saysTom Martin, HelpMyBrand.com. “You can get into themind of a consumer…you can play out hunches, and thenback them up with statistical data.”Social media marketing efforts can also do double dutyhere: building brand awareness and engagement whilecontributing to research goals. Consumers engage withbrands that interact with them—those that actively seektheir comments and ask questions. Polls and quizzes canbe used to both engage the public and gather data forproduct or marketing purposes.“Anybody can post a Tweet or a status update on Face-book, but the brands and people who are being the mostsuccessful are really taking into account who their audi-ence is, what they care about, and how they can standout,” says Jordan Viator Slabaugh, Spredfast. “Whetherit’s creating new conversations that haven’t taken place,designing custom applications (contests, polls, etc.) oroffering an interactive experience for people to give feed-back and their own content.”Primary Objectives Impact MeasurementMore than anything, the primary objective companies setfor their social media programs determine how measurableCommon Social Media Business Objectives(Multi-Select)Brand awarenessDriving visitors to brand websitesCreating community around the brandIncreasing positive mentions of brand onlineIncreasing purchase consideration of brandShowcasing thought leadership to target audienceCustomer serviceDriving sales to online sourcesMarketing research: Consumer insight for marketingDriving sales to ofﬂine sourcesBuilding your customer ﬁle for CRMProduct research: Consumer feedback for productRecruiting potential employees / job candidates91%78%74%66%57%55%47%46%40%33%31%26%25%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.“You can do a lot of ethnography through linguis-tics in social [media], because it’s mostly a text-based medium.” –Tom Martin, HelpMyBrand.com“Anybody can post a Tweet or a status update onFacebook, but the brands and people who arebeing the most successful are really taking intoaccount who their audience is, what they careabout, and how they can stand out...”– Jordan Viator Slabaugh, Spredfast
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 7the program will be. Therefore, a marketer’s ability to mea-sure the return on their social media investments effec-tively begins with a clear understanding of the objectivesat the onset. Some objectives, like direct sales, are easyto quantify. Others, like building community around thebrand, are signiﬁcantly harder to link to ROI and requirecontextual or indirect methods of measurement.“People used to want Fans on Facebook. Thenthey realized what you want is engagement. After,they realized what you want is ROI, for people toengage and then follow-through and buy things.The truth is, depending on what you’re doing, itcould be any one of those three things …all [are]valid objectives.”–Matt Magee, SearchEngineLandMarketers face a balancing act when it comes to theemphasis on measurability because choosing to focus onlyon objectives that can be easily tied to revenue can resultin the use of social media tactics that have only short-termreturn. For example, the recent focus on measuring ROIin social media appears to have driven some marketersto place direct sales at the top of their list of priorities.However, this may require marketers to become overlyaggressive with their messaging in an environment thatdoes not typically welcome a “hard sell” approach.“We know better than to walk into a networkingevent with our megaphone turned on, screamingabout our product because if we do, we’re going tobe asked to leave because it’s not the appropriateenvironment... So, that’s kinda what social me-dia is in a nutshell. It’s a networking event whereyou go, you hang out, you participate and pro-vide value over time. If you show up and you havea presence and people know you, if you providevalue to them, then they like you. If they know youand they like you and you do that consistently overtime then they trust you. And when they know, likeand trust you, they buy from you.”–Jason Falls,Social Media ExplorerOf the marketers surveyed, 13% indicated that directsales was the primary objective of their social media pro-grams, but these marketers tend to be less experiencedcompared to the 24% whose primary objective was brandawareness. Although the simplest way to demonstrateROI of social media is by driving direct sales, more ex-perienced social media marketers (as we identiﬁed asmarketers with at least 3 years professional experience insocial media and 6 years of overall marketing experience)Primary Social Media ObjectiveBrand awarenessCreating community around the brandShowcasing thought leadership to target audienceIncreasing purchase consideration of brandDriving visitors to brand websitesDriving sales to online sourcesDriving sales to ofﬂine sourcesIncreasing positive mentions of brand onlineCustomer serviceMarketing research: Consumer insight for marketingBuilding your customer ﬁle for CRMRecruiting potential employees / job candidatesProduct research: Consumer feedback for product24%21%11%11%10%8%5%4%3%2%1%0%0%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.The truth is, depending on what you’re doing, itcould be any one of those three things …all [are]valid objectives.”–Matt Magee, SearchEngineLandSo, that’s kinda what social media is in a nutshell.It’s a networking event where you go, you hangout, you participate and provide value over time.–Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 8are more likely to focus on long-term strategic goals, suchas community building, brand awareness and demonstrat-ing thought leadership.Companies may have a difﬁcult time quantifying the ROIof social media with regard to brand awareness, but astrong ability to measure secondary objectives suggestthat marketers are zeroing in on ways to evaluate socialmedia’s effectiveness. For example, increased trafﬁc tothe website is something 68% of marketers say they canmeasure effectively.Just behind brand awareness and creating community,showcasing thought leadership was cited by 11% of mar-keters as their primary objective in social media programs.“You’ve got to be extremely attractive to the market nicheyou’re going after,” says Mark Amtower, Amtower & Com-pany. “You need to develop your thought leadership plat-form.” Thought leadership could be seen as a reﬁnementof brand awareness. Building a brand’s reputation forthought leadership increases trafﬁc, positive mentionsand increases the level of regard by both customers andprospective customers.“You’ve got to be extremely attractive to themarket niche you’re going after.”–Mark Amtower,Amtower & CompanyIncreasing purchase consideration and driving sales bothfall lower on the list of primary objectives for social media.This isn’t to say these are not important, but making salesthe endgame for social media efforts may be missingsome critical steps in the marketing process—namelyportraying your brand as one with which people feel goodabout conducting business.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 9Measures that are EXTREMELY and QUITE IMPORTANT to company/client’smanagement when considering the allocation of resources to social mediaBrand awareness / recognitionDirect trafﬁc to brand websiteReturn on marketing investment (ROI)Search engine placementNumber of sales leadsCustomer retentionConsumer sentimentEngagement measures (comments, Likes, Retweets, Check-ins)Customer insightsNumber of Likes, fans, followers, subscribers, etc.Topline salesCustomer satisfaction / Net promoter scoreCustomer lifetime valueCustomer service response timeQuantity / Quality of crowd sourced contentShare of voiceNumber of downloads (e.g., whitepaper, app)78%71%66%63%57%55%55%54%51%49%48%45%41%38%37%36%35%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.Section 3: Delivering to the C-SuiteIn order to secure the resources necessary to implementtheir social media plans, marketers increasingly needto translate social media gains into the language of theC-suite. Their criteria for measuring effectiveness rangesfrom simple customer engagement (i.e., Likes, comments,Retweets, etc.) and brand engagement, to acquisition,lead generation, and direct revenue measures. Thechallenge for today’s social media marketers is that theyneed to demonstrate positive ROI to upper managementin the form of sales, while their primary objectives (i.e.,brand awareness) are challenging to deﬁne and hard toquantify. Marketers are held accountable to the bottomline despite the fact their programs are focused on, andlikely optimized to, activities that drive prospects to thetop of the sales funnel where they are later passed offto other channels that carry the burden of convertingprospects into customers.Part of the challenge for social media is that it is measuredalongside other online marketing channels where the di-rect path to conversion is linear. Channels like search,email, and afﬁliate marketing all have established andlogical paths to conversion. However, each of these chan-nels also starts further down the conversion funnel. Whenasked which measurements companies use to determinethe relative effectiveness of different online marketingtactics, marketers rank customer engagement ﬁrst at53%, followed closely by acquisition and lead generation(48%), and direct revenue measures (29%).Site Trafﬁc: The Bridge BetweenFortunately for social media marketers, measuring directtrafﬁc also ranks as an important metric for management.Site trafﬁc is something marketers can easily measure,especially when compared to objectives like brand aware-ness and ROI. Since increased site trafﬁc represents anatural progression, and is the logical outcome of suc-cessful brand awareness initiatives, this secondary datapoint may well be the most effective means by which mar-keters can quantify and demonstrate the effectiveness ofawareness-building efforts.Moreover, marketers are becoming more intentional aboutintegrating their social media initiatives with other chan-nels, a topic that will be covered more in depth in Section 5
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 10of this whitepaper. Metrics that can be easily measuredthrough other channels, such as direct sales and searchengine placements, are yardsticks that are becomingmore important to both marketers and management inlight of the challenges associated with measuring ROI.Taking an integrated approach helps realize the uniquecapabilities of social media in driving increased brandawareness while leveraging these other channels to movepeople along the conversion cycle. In essence, integratingsocial media marketing efforts with other channels allevi-ates the need social media to focus every action directlyat driving a sale.It’s Not All About the DownloadsSimple social media measures are not particularly attrac-tive to executive management. The measurements con-sidered least important to the C-suite include the numberof downloads (e.g. whitepaper, app), share of voice, andthe quantity and quality of user-generated content. Whilethese measures may be indicative of some types of suc-cess, they also represent diagnostic opportunities for mar-keters to determine if they are doing a good job or not atdriving higher-level objectives. For example, getting morepeople to download a whitepaper indicates that the top-ics addressed in the whitepaper resonate with prospectsand that the messages used to drive awareness are effec-tive. Increasing the share of voice indicates similar prog-ress resonating with Business-to-Consumer audiences.When it comes to customer-centric metrics, consumersentiments, insights, retention and satisfaction outweighnumerical indicators (number of subscribers, likes, fans,etc.)—and even customer service response time—in theirimportance to leadership.This focus on higher-level metrics indicates that manage-ment is more interested in driving topline results thanlooking at intermediate metrics of success. Managementis looking to improve the overall impression of their brandsthrough social media and promote this positive sentimentto a broad audience.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 11Section 4: The Measurement GapIf some of the most measurable elements of a socialmedia tactic—likes, clicks, downloads, and so on—arethe least important in terms of demonstrating value tomanagement, then marketers have to ﬁnd ways of bridgingthis gap. So just how wide is the gap between whatmanagement wants and what marketers can measure?Marketers’ ability to measure certain elements is, in someways, canceled out by how unimportant those componentsare to management. Likes, re-tweets, check-ins andcomments certainly indicate that a campaign is gettingsome traction. They are also the most straightforwardcustomer-driven metrics from a measurement standpoint,but if they can’t be clearly linked to increased site trafﬁc orconversions, chances are they will be dismissed by thosewith the purse strings.Only 4% of marketers surveyed say they are “excel-lent” at measuring the impact of social media oncompany performance, with another 16% saying theydo an “above average” job at this. That means themajority of marketers (80%) feel they perform at av-erage levels or below in this regard.This inferiority complex, so to speak, is likely due to theextreme gap between the importance senior executivesplace on two speciﬁc metrics, and the ability of market-ers to accurately measure them. When it comes to brandawareness, 78% of marketers said it is important to ex-ecutive leadership, but just 32% of them feel they canactually assess this. Similarly, 66% said ROI is importantto the decision-makers, but only 28% feel they can ac-curately demonstrate the connection. But, there is hope!Driving trafﬁc is one objective that marketers and man-agement can agree upon. A full 68% of marketers saythey can quantify it, and it’s high on the list of metrics thatmanagement is looking for.Increased trafﬁc is just one outcome of building brandawareness, but when it’s combined with other factors, likeimproved search engine placement, marketers can make astrong case that brand awareness is improving. Secondarymetrics that can be tied directly to conversion can serve asrespectable proxies for a brand awareness measurement,until more robust tools can be implemented.In the same vein, one path to a more complete ROI mea-surement is through integrating social media with otherThe Measurement GapABLE TO MEASURE EFFECTIVELY IMPORTANT TO MANAGEMENTBrand awareness / recognitionReturn on marketing investment (ROI)Customer retentionCustomer lifetime valueConsumer sentimentNumber of sales leadsCustomer satisfaction / Net promoter scoreTopline salesCustomer insightsShare of voiceSearch engine placementCustomer service response timeQuantity / Quality of crowd sourced contentDirect trafﬁc to brand websiteEngagement measures (comments, Likes, Retweets)Number of downloads (e.g., whitepaper, app)Number of Likes, fans, followers, subscribers, etc.32%28%22%15%31%34%22%25%38%24%55%31%33%68%65%53%78%78%66%55%41%55%57%45%48%51%36%63%38%37%71%54%35%49%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 12marketing channels like email and search. These chan-nels usually have well-established means of calculatingROI and can help collect evidence that social media iscontributing to the success of the company.Marketing software company HubSpot was cited by expertsand survey respondents alike as being one of the mostsophisticated and effective social media and marketingtools in existence. Integrating social media efforts withemail and search marketing helps HubSpot effectivelymeasure the ROI of their social media efforts. “At theend of the day, if you can measure customers generatedfrom social media, you’ve won,” shared Rebecca Corliss,HubSpot. “We measure the trafﬁc, leads, and sales thatwe’ve generated through social media speciﬁcally andtrack social’s impact on other channels as well. That’sreally powerful and helps me justify the time I’m spendingon social.” In fact, in this regard, the focus of socialmedia may need to shift from a direct impact on ROI to anability to amplify other, more traditional direct marketingmethods.It’s important for companies to make sure the right toolsare in place to bridge this measurement gap. This will en-sure they can tie social media objectives to the strategyand tactics they’re using and have the metrics to backit up.“At the end of the day, if you can measurecustomers generated from social media, you’vewon.”–Rebecca Corliss, HubSpot
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 13Section 5: Measurement ToolsTo understand the gap between what management wantsand what marketers can measure, it’s important toconsider the tools being used. These tools fall primarilyinto the two categories: free and paid services.It’s not surprising that free tools are the most frequentlyused. Two-thirds of marketers consistently use freeanalytics software. Services like Google Analytics andYouTube Analytics fall into this category, as do free buzz-monitoring services like Google Alerts, TweetDeck andTechnorati.The problem with these free services is that, while theyoffer many methods of monitoring interactions, such asdownloads, subscribes, and likes, they have fewer metricsthat can make the direct link to sales, which is whatmanagement ultimately wants to see.When it comes to paid measurement tools, the usage rateamong marketers plummets. Most marketers—roughlythree-fourths—have never used paid analytics software orpaid buzz-monitoring services.When you’re looking for the drivers that move a consumerfrom brand awareness to purchase, it can get prettycomplicated. This means that the measurement processis complicated as well. It requires sophisticated andintegrated measurement tools beyond the data marketerscan obtain from most free services.“A lot of times there’s confusion between monitoring toolsand measurement tools. They’re very different,” saysNichole Kelly, Full Frontal ROI. “Many times the measure-ments in your monitoring tool are not connected to rev-enue, so you’re not getting the full picture.”Paid Services: Worth the Investment?What’s the difference, or added beneﬁt, of paid servicesif you can get about the same value from free ones?Before that question can be addressed, there’s thequestion of effectiveness: what does it mean and whichmeasurements meet that standard?This is a critical discussion because this is where the rubbermeets the road. Everything—from the objectives of themarketing department, to management’s expectations, tothe measurement tools—must align to result in a trulyeffective campaign with clearly demonstrable value to thebottom line.“It’s easy for social media consultants to come in and talkabout building up a social media presence,” says AaronWeber, Inventi, “but because those platforms don’t crossout into the broader web…it’s easy to say ‘it’s working,Tools/Tactics Used To Measure Social Media EffortsNEVER USED USE FREQUENTLYPaid buzz-monitoring service (e.g., Radian6,Visible Technologies, etc.)Paid analytics software (e.g., Adobe Omniture,IBM Coremetrics, etc.)Scientiﬁc control / exposed surveys of friends/fans/connections to determine effectivenessPolls of social media friends/fans/connectionsto estimate effectivenessTracking clicks and re-posts/-tweets (e.g., bit.ly)Free buzz-monitoring service (e.g., Google Alerts,TweetDeck, Technorati, etc.)Free analytics software (e.g., Google analytics,YouTube Analytics, etc.)72%72%63%54%25%22%10%10%12%6%7%39%49%67%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.“Many times the measurements in your monitoringtool are not connected to revenue, so you’re notgetting the full picture.”–Nichole Kelly, Full Frontal ROI
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 14people are engaged,’ without deriving any further value.They’re addressing an emotional, not a ﬁnancial need.”If paid services can provide the breadth and depth ofanalysis, as well as tools to make the connections betweenROI and a particular social media program overall, thebeneﬁt will outweigh the costs.Social Media as AmpliﬁerSocial media is the ﬁrst runner in the customerengagement relay. Moving toward measurement ofits ROI requires integration with other channels thathave a built-in ability to track sales. This necessitatescomprehensive pre-planning and hand-off points, inaddition to objectives for each individual channel. It alsomeans putting in place the right measurement tools andwatching the right metrics.“We translate everything to sales revenue and cost. Wecan compare the cost per impression, lead, click, in-boundlink, etc., and we can compare it to traditional media,online advertising, PR, and SEO,” says Nichole Kelly, FullFrontal ROI. “We can typically show that social media isamplifying what those channels are already doing at alower cost. We start there, and then we start looking athow we can connect to the revenue and sales picture. Wefocus on the cost per metric for all of the core traditionaladvertising metrics because they have a history.”The fact that companies value those measurements thatare directly related to the integration of social media withother channels, such as website trafﬁc and search engineplacement, shows that they are on the right track. Thismindfulness of the interconnectivity of various marketingchannels to drive consumers along the path to conversion, tomove them down the funnel, is a step in the right direction.Most marketers, however, are not innately analysts. Work-ing with complicated metrics may not come naturally, so itmakes sense to invest in more sophisticated services thatexpedite this process. Unfortunately, justifying the budgetfor comprehensive, paid services, when the focus is typi-cally on the need for more consumer-facing resources, isa struggle.“The marketing department ends up being an army of one,”says Aaron Weber, Inventi. “The biggest problem is they cancollect all this data, but somebody still has to go throughit. The story behind the chart is still the most importantpiece.”The story behind the chart is still the mostimportant piece.”–Aaron Weber, Inventi
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 15Section 6: Investing in Social MediaLooking ahead to the next 12 months, investment in socialmedia overall is not in question. However, the investmentsthat companies are making may shift to focus on speciﬁcapproaches more than others.The largest ﬁnancial increases will likely be seen instrategies that involve participation in online communitiesand consumer engagement via brand social networkingpages. There will also be a larger emphasis on marketingcampaigns that supplement social media with multi-mediacontent, like online video and blogs, as well as tools thatincrease social sharing.Marketers plan to continue directing investments to the“Big Four”—the platform heavyweights Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and LinkedIn. SEO and email lists will also seeincreased funding because they have traditional metricsthat can be directly correlated to ROI. These are especiallyimportant with regard to entry points (in the case of SEO),and consumer retention and relationship building (in thecase of email marketing).Top Priorities for 2012 Social Media EffortsThe top priorities for marketers in the coming year are in-creasing presence across social media platforms, followedclosely by integrating social media with other online mar-keting channels. Clearly, bridging the measurement gap istop-of-mind for many social media marketers.SEOmarketingandemailmarketinghavebetterestablishedmeans of pinpointing the origin of a sales conversion,which social media currently lacks. Addressing how socialmedia can work to amplify and strengthen other channelswill allow it to bring more to the table with regard overallmarketing success.“There’s a huge missed opportunity in…not using email topower social and social to power email,” says DJ Waldow,Waldow Social. “Instead, a lot of people are thinking aboutthose channels separately. I’m hoping marketers will thinkmore of an integrated strategy, not just these differentchannels as silos.”The third and fourth priorities in the lineup are improvingmeasurement and improving conversions. Marketers areacutely aware of the need to justify social media expendi-tures with a clear ROI. This shows that the focus is now ontracking social media’s role in the funnel process by us-ing better measurement tools, and, as a result, increasesconversions.What are the TOP priorities for your social media efforts in 2012?(Select Top 3)Increasing presence across social media platformsIntegrating social media with other online marketing channels (e.g., search, email, website, etc.)Improving measurement (e.g., ROI, analytics, sentiment, etc.)Improving conversionsIncreasing the frequency of content publishingDeveloping / improving social media management processesGetting the right tools and technologies in placeIntegrating social media with ofﬂine marketing channels (e.g., direct mail, in-store, TV, print, etc.)Improving customer insightGrowing / training our teamIntegrating with sales systems (e.g., CRM, POS, Lead Management)Lowering costs38%37%35%30%28%27%21%21%16%14%12%5%Source: MarketingProfs 2012 Social Media Survey, February 2012. Chart Base: 256 marketers.“Instead, a lot of people are thinking aboutthose channels separately. I’m hoping marketerswill think more of an integrated strategy, not justthese different channels as silos.”–DJ Waldow, Waldow Social
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 16Section 7: ConclusionPresence is no longer the name of the game—it’s nowabout bridging the measurement gap between brandawareness and ROI. The marketers who continue to expandsocial media presence while integrating those efforts withmore trackable channels, and then connecting data dotsfor the decision-makers, are those that will see the mostimpact on their company’s bottom line in 2012.Lowering costs was the lowest rung on the priority ladderfor social media marketers, but they’re looking to boostthe bottom line in other ways. Rather than looking forline item cuts, they’re looking to provide greater returnon marketing dollars spent. Using sophisticated, premiumtools to help them interpret metrics and tie them directlyto their objectives will make marketers more efﬁcient atmoving consumers through the sales funnel.The marketers who understand that closing the measure-ment gap depends on the ability to interface with otheronline marketing channels will create the most naturalpath for consumers to move from awareness to purchase.The bottom line is that if marketers can grow awareness,improve measurement and connect social media metricsto conversions, then they will have justiﬁed to manage-ment why they should increase their investment in socialmedia marketing.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing | 17Trendline Interactive is a marketing consultancy focused ondeveloping messaging programs that resonate with consumers.Our unique insights are rooted in practical experience andongoing research on media trends. Our work with clients helpsto inform the questions we ask in interviews, focus groups, andsurveys. In turn, the insights gathered through research fuels therecommendations we make to our clients. By combining thesetwo disciplines, we turn information into competitive advantagethat is delivered through our full suite of research, strategy,creative and technical services.MarketingProfs is a rich and trusted resource that offersactionable know-how designed to make you a smarter marketer—from social media and content marketing to lead generation andonline conversions. More than 405,000 members rely on ourfree daily publications, podcasts, virtual conferences, and moreto stay up-to-date on the most important trends in marketing,and how to apply them to their businesses. Plus, MarketingProfsdelivers enhanced professional development training throughonline seminars and short webcasts, in-depth how-to reports,research, interactive planning tools, online courses, and in-personevents. MarketingProfs helps the smartest marketers worldwideturn even the toughest marketing challenges into success stories.Basic membership is free—register now.Lithium is the leading provider of social customer solutions thatdeliver real business results. The Lithium Social Customer Suiteoffers complete social monitoring, a comprehensive communityplatform, and actionable analytics across millions of blogs,forums, and social networking sites. Lithium software powersamazing Social Customer Experiences for more than 300 iconicbrands including AT&T, Best Buy, Paypal, Sephora and Univisionhelping them to build brand nations that grow brand advocacy,drive sales, reduce costs and accelerate innovation. For moreinformation, visit http://www.lithium.com, or connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and our own brand nation—the Lithosphere.Lithium is privately held with corporate headquarters in Emeryville,Calif. and ofﬁces in Europe and Asia.