Marketers Plan to Increase Social Media Spending, ROI Not Yet a Concern

October 16, 2007

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The vast majority of marketers who already use social media are bullish on social-media spending, with nearly 9 in 10 saying they plan to “increase” or “increase significantly” their spending, according to a recent survey by social-media application provider Prospero Technologies.


Prospero’s “2007 Social Media Survey” found that 30% of online marketers who use social media plan to spend significantly more on social-media applications in 2008, while an additional 58% also plan to increase spending, though not “significantly.”

Some 59% of respondents reported that social media performance in 2007 met or exceeded their marketing objectives.

Survey participants were from leading brand organizations from a variety of industries, including Media, Education, Financial Services, Health, and Sports and Gaming.


Asked about social media return on investment (ROI), 35% reported positive ROI and 41% said that ROI was “unknown.”

Responses to questions about how web marketers measure ROI reveal that direct sales revenue is not a top measure for determining social media success:

  • Respondents said that total number of site visitors (17%) was the most important criterion for assessing social media performance.
  • Total number of pageviews (15%) and number of subscribes/community members (15%) were next, followed closely by length of visit on the site (14%).
  • Some 12% cited ad revenue and 9% said sponsorships as important measures of success.

“The majority of respondents see engagement with their brand as the most important measure of social media success, while more concrete ROI measures such as sales and new business leads carry less weight,” said Rusty Williams, cofounder and vice-president of Prospero Technologies.

  • Regarding the types of social media applications in use:


    • Blogs (13%) and discussion boards (12%) topped the list of those in use in 2007.
    • Regarding 2008 plans, discussion boards and blogs again top the list (10% each), followed by ratings and reviews (8%) and profiles/social networking applications (8%)
  • Regarding objectives for using widgets, the top uses respondents cited:
    • Helping audiences promote conversations/interest on social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook (32%)
    • Improvingthe speed and efficiency for implementing technologies on their site (29%) as the top uses.
  • Regarding current social-media challenges:
    • Integrating community-generated content with the rest of the website and understanding best practices for new/evolving technologies were rated the top challenges.
    • Closely behind was keeping up with new social media technology advances.
  • Regarding OpenID and Microformat initiatives:
    • 14% said they fully support open standards.
    • 22% reported that they would support open standards provided there were no security issues.
    • 43% said that they had not yet reviewed open standard initiatives.

About the study: Prospero’s 2007 Social Media survey was conducted online in September 2007, gathering responses from over 50 businesses currently using social media applications, including organizations from the following industries: Broadcast Media, eCommerce and eCRM, Education, Financial Services, Health, Manufacturing, Online Media, Print Media – Magazines and Books, Print Media – Newspapers, Professional Associations, Sports and Gaming.


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