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McKinsey-Top-Customer-Benefits-Social-Tech-Adoption-Mar201383% of executives from around the world surveyed in 2012 reported using at least one social technology, up from 72% in 2011, per results [pdf] from a new McKinsey survey. Of those, 9 in 10 reported some measurable business benefit with employees, customers, and business partners. 65% said their use of social tech increases marketing effectiveness (down from 69% in 2011), while 51% said it increases customer satisfaction (up from 47%) and 47% said it reduces marketing costs (up from 43%). For 34% of social tech users, these tools also reduce customer-support costs.

On average, respondents reported that their use of social technologies with customers has increased brand awareness by 36% and conversion of customers by 20%. Those figures are up from 32% and 17%, respectively, in the 2011 study.

Social networking is only one piece of the social technology landscape. 53% of respondents reported using social networking, up from 50% in 2011 and just 28% in 2009. Other common tools and technologies being used include:

  • online video conferencing (60%);
  • blogs (43%, up from 41% in 2011);
  • collaborative document editing (43%);
  • video sharing (41%, up from 38% in 2011);
  • RSS (29%, down from 30%);
  • Wikis (26%, up from 25%); and
  • microblogging (25%, up from 23%).

While there has been a slight uptick in the share of respondents seeing measurable benefits on the customer side of the equation, overall, the study finds that as adoption of social tools grows, the proportion seeing benefits has reached somewhat of a plateau. That leaves executives “optimistic but sober about the next leg of the social-technology pathway” as they work their way through organizational barriers and see the risks posed by these tools.

About the Data: McKinsey’s online survey was in the field from June 12 to June 22, 2012, and received responses from 3,542 executives representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, tenures, and functional specialties. To adjust for differences in response rates, the data are weighted by the contribution of each respondent’s nation to global GDP.

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