A majority (53%) of B2B marketers from around the world say that generating actionable insights from social data is a key social marketing challenge faced by their organization, according to a recently-released report [download page] from Regalix. In fact, this is the second-leading social media challenge faced by B2B marketers, behind only the ever-present questions about its effectiveness. Of note, far fewer (23%) respondents complained of a lack of tools and techniques to gather relevant social data. This suggests – as have other studies – that issues with data aren’t related to collection but rather the extraction of meaningful insights.
It’s not just B2B marketers having trouble with social data. In a recent survey [pdf] of 272 senior-level marketers at mid-sized and large companies conducted by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), respondents were as likely to agree (39.2%) as disagree (37.4%) that “most information available from monitoring social media is not actionable.”
In another recently-released report [download page], this time from Oracle Marketing Cloud and Social Media Today, social media marketers reported that their primary goals for future social marketing data are data integration (53.1%) and more insight into the effects of specific actions (53.1%).
Returning to the Regalix survey, more than 8 in 10 respondents said their organization monitors social trends. Among those conducting social media monitoring, engagement metrics and brand mentions are the most commonly tracked, with fewer looking at sentiment analysis. Only about one-third track demographic information about their consumers and slightly more than one-quarter collect social graph data.
Meanwhile, it’s plan to see that B2B marketers continue to have trouble assessing the effectiveness of their social activities, as just 29% said they’re able to measure the ROI of their programs.
Nevertheless, respondents attribute several benefits to social media marketing, most commonly pointing to increase in lead generation (74%), traffic increases (66%) and an increase in global presence (50%). Despite the problems faced in generating insights from social data, almost half perceive better insights into prospects and leads as a benefit.
Separately, marketers tabbed LinkedIn as the social channel most effective for customer engagement at both the pre- and post-sales stages of the buying cycle. That’s not too surprising, given other research indicating that LinkedIn is B2B marketers’ most important social network. Interestingly, though, Facebook falls behind several other platforms – including Twitter, blogs and YouTube – in this survey when it comes to customer engagement, though respondents were significantly more likely to see it as effective at the post- than pre-sales stage.
In other results from the survey:
About the Data: The Regalix data is based on a survey of 422 senior B2B marketing executives and business leaders, 44% of whom are from North America. The software and internet (38%) and business services (22%) industries were most heavily represented.
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