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Simply Measured Research Finds Increase in Social Marketing's Importance-But Severe Gap in Conversion Goal-Setting
[July 20, 2017]

Simply Measured Research Finds Increase in Social Marketing's Importance-But Severe Gap in Conversion Goal-Setting

Simply Measured, the pioneer in social analytics, today announced the release of its third annual "State of Social Marketing" report. This comprehensive piece of primary research expands on prior reports by providing insights from more than 2,700 social media professionals in 111 countries-with the perspectives of both brands and agencies.

"At the end of the day, your job as a marketer-any kind of marketer-is to sell. This is true even if you are tasked with increasing brand awareness and cultivating a community on social, as three-quarters of our survey respondents are," said Scott Fallon, vice president of Marketing, Simply Measured. "It just means that your target market is closer to the top of the funnel. As more budget is devoted to social-social spending is expected to rise to 17.3 billion by 2019 -social marketers will be pressed to make the link between engagement and conversions. Social marketers won't stop paying attention to engagement and amplification metrics, but they will be asked to set and meet conversion goals, too."

There is a severe gap here today: 90 percent of marketers surveyed struggle to measure ROI and/or tie social to business goals. The report positions 2017 as the year of contradictions, with social ad investment increasing, but a lack of industry-wide goal-setting, and more than half of brands saying that influencers are vital to the success of their social programs, but over 76 percent of brands saying they have no dedicated budget for influencer marketing. Brands are saying one thing and doing the opposite in multiple categories covered in thi report, whether due to unsubstantial resources, lack of expertise, or both.

Agencies, however, are pushing for results from social more than brands: 73 percent of agencies set goals for either web traffic or conversion goals, while only 57 percent of brand marketers do. This indicates that social marketers at agencies have stronger goal-setting (and achieving) baselines than social marketers within the brand environment.

"Whether brand or agency, social media is a foundational marketing strategy that-if properly tracked and analyzed-has the ability to impact the buyer's journey at all stages in the funnel," explained report author Lucy Hitz, head of Marketing Communications, Simply Measured. "However, marketers still find difficulty quantifying the impact of social media and are unsure of how to distribute resources to generate the most value from their social campaigns."

"In-house marketing teams and agency professionals experience unique challenges and are offered different opportunities. If you're an in-house marketing team, you're focused on a long-term, constantly evolving brand. If you're an agency, you're brought on to achieve specific goals and have to show your value in a specific amount of time- or your clients will go elsewhere," Hitz commented. "We wanted this report to reflect both sides."

The third annual report highlights findings to pinpoint how marketers can fully leverage the power of social media.

Key Report Findings

The report compares the results of brands and agencies to gain perspective on the unique experiences of these two sectors, and the challenges and successes that accompany different sectors of the marketing industry. 64.8 percent of respondents were brands and 35.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as agencies.

Summary of report findings:

  • Social marketing teams are growing in size, with an observed year-over-year decrease in the number of marketers that report only 1-2 people in their social teams-dropping to 58.1 percent compared to 68.1 percent in 2016 (a roughly 15 percent reduction).
  • Marketers are spending budgets across all social platforms, but not setting appropriate web traffic and conversion goals to justify the spend.
  • 47.2 percent of respondents reported the need for analytics software to optimize social strategies as their most-needed resource, but only 21.5 percent of marketers said they have the budget they need for analytics software.
  • More than half (52.7 percent) of brands say that they either agree or strongly agree that influencers are vital to the success of social.

The report was expanded this year to include the global marketing community. Responses were collected from marketers in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam, and more.

"The report findings reflect a global perspective about changes in social marketing staffing, the universality of budget constraints, and how social marketing's role is evolving in the minds of business leaders," commented Fallon.

Download the full report here.

About Simply Measured

Simply Measured is the world's leading social analytics provider, offering the industry's only full-funnel social analytics platform. Simply Measured helps marketers measure everything from conversations to conversions, so you can prove social's impact and improve performance.

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