UK Marketers See Social Media Benefits, but ROI Concerns Persist

episerver-uk-marketers-social-media-benefits-april2012.jpgIt appears to be a growing trend: marketers say social media has direct benefits, but they are unsure of how to measure them. April 2012 survey results from EPiServer show that the same pattern is occurring in the UK. Roughly 3 in 10 marketers polled by the company cited increased customer loyalty and increased customer engagement as benefits of their social media marketing efforts, while one-quarter pointed to increased traffic to their website and about 1 in 5 attributed an increased sales turnover to their active use. Even so, just 1 in 10 using social media said they are able to effectively measure the benefits of their marketing efforts.

December 2011 survey results from the CMO Council also found customer engagement to be one of social media’s top benefits, cited by 55% of respondents, with half also saying they were unable to quantify or measure return or impact on their brand.

Despite ROI Uncertainty, Marketers Double Down

Data from EPiServer’s “Tackling the Social Challenge” indicates that despite most respondents indicating difficulties with measuring the benefits of social media, a majority have increased the amount of time dedicated to managing the channel, with 20% expecting to further increase their time spent in the next year. And 17% report they are likely to set up more social channels in the next 12 months.

Overall, respondents reported spending an average of 1 hour per day on social media activities. Survey results from Social Media Examiner suggest that these marketers may want to up their time investment considerably if they want to boost sales: although only 40% of respondents to the Social Media Examiner survey said that their social media marketing has benefited them by improving their sales, the proportion seeing increased sales rose to a majority among marketers who spend 11 or more hours a week, while nearly two-thirds who spend more than 30 hours weekly said they earn new business through their efforts.

Only 1 in 5 Have Dedicated Community Manager

Meanwhile, just 22% of the EPiServer survey respondents said they have a dedicated social media or community manager, which is unchanged from a year earlier. Nearly twice as many respondents (40%) said they do not plan to appoint someone dedicated to social media in the next year. And less than half of the marketers surveyed reported monitoring their own forums, communities, or blogs.

Other Findings:

  • Less than one-quarter of respondents said that social media is an integrated part of their online presence.
  • Just 24% of the marketers reported being able to update various social media channels using one platform, and only 6% have a centralized dashboard to display their social media activity and results.
  • 77% of the marketers surveyed are running an online community or are planning to do so in the next year, up from 73% last year. 29% set up their social media channels in the last 12 months, while 35% have been actively using social media for more than a year.
  • 28% of social media activities are handled by a marketing executive, 16% by the IT manager, and 14% by a PR executive. Only 3% say that their social media activities are being run by external agencies.
  • Facebook (65%) and Twitter (60%) are the most popular channels.

About the Data: The EPiServer survey was conducted in February 2012 and received responses from 250 marketing decision-makers.

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