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Vizu-Paid-Social-Media-Ad-Effectiveness-Jan2013A survey commissioned by Vizu [download page] of more than 500 US digital marketing and media professionals finds that 64% will be increasing their paid social media advertising budgets this year, primarily by modest amounts. While that’s a positive sign of growth for paid social ads, which command only 1-10% of online budgets for most of the respondents, some issues remain. Namely, presented with a choice of 4 attitudes towards the ads, less than one-third of the advertisers and agencies polled chose the response indicating that the ads are effective and produce measurable ROI. (ROI is defined in the report as metric achieved per dollar spent.)

The other response choices and percentages broke down as follows:

  • “I think it moves the needle when combined with other efforts, but I’m not sure how to measure ROI” – 33% of advertisers and 43% of agencies;
  • “It’s a promising new tactic, but its effectiveness is unknown” – 33% of advertisers and 27% of agencies; and
  • “I don’t think it works” – 6% of advertisers and 3% of agencies.

Of course, hand-wringing about ROI and social media marketing has been going on for some time. But as the Vizu survey results make clear, these concerns are affecting potential media buys. That is, 58% of advertisers and 65% of agencies would increase their use of paid social media advertising if there was more clarity about how to measure ROI. 14% of brands don’t even have someone to monitor the ROI of their paid social media advertising efforts.

Establishing a clear link between social media advertising and sales would convince 52% of advertisers and 66% of agencies to increase their use of these ads. A clear link between the ads and brand lift would also do the trick for 46% and 53%, respectively.

About the Data: The Vizu survey was conducted in October 2012 by Digiday.

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