Although 85% of retailers are using social media in a bid to increase customer engagement, more than half are unable to accurately measure the impact of such activity on sales, raising question marks over future investment.
According to a report entitled ‘Social Media ROI: Customer Engagement, Brand Interactivity and Revenue’ written by analysts the Aberdeen Group, about half of current social media initiatives have been in place for two years or less.
Some 53% were introduced because consumers are increasingly using the channel as their primary shopping and research tool, while 47% of respondents did so because their rivals were at it.
Greg Belkin, retail social media analyst at the researcher, said: "There is no doubt when it comes to the pervasiveness of social media among retailers. The challenge, however, is to turn that pervasiveness into something measurable."
While there was a lot of interest in such projects at the moment because the channel was new and had "consumer cache", over time retailers would need to determine clear benefits in order to guarantee future investment, he added.
The study indicated that, while defining key performance indicators to help measure the success of campaigns was considered a top priority, only 56% of organisations were currently able to quantify their impact, with 24% relying simply on ‘gut feel’.