Half of CMOs struggling to show ROI of social

4th Sep 2013

All marketers understand the power of using social media in their campaigns but half are unable to prove the impact of their investments.

That’s according to the latest biannual research from The CMO Survey, which revealed that 49% of marketers are unable to show that their social media activity has made a difference.  

Only 15% of respondents admitted that they can quantitatively show the ROI of their social media marketing campaigns whilst 36% of those surveyed said they have ‘a good sense’ of the qualitative impact, but not the quantitative impact.

Despite this, the study showed that marketers are still keen to plough investment into social with expenditure set to increase from 6.6% to 15.8%.

The survey of 410 CMOs in the US showed that just a third of marketers can demonstrate the quantitative impact of their spending whilst simultaneously reporting increasing pressure to provide ROI of their activities to the CEO and boards.

“Marketing leadership requires that CMOs offer strong evidence that strategic marketing investments are paying off for their firms in the short and long run. CMOs will only earn a ‘seat at the table’ if they can demonstrate the effect of their marketing spend,” said Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and senior professor of business administration at the Duke University.  

The survey also questioned marketers about data and found analytics currently takes up just 5.5% of marketing budgets, although this is expected to increase to 8.7% over the next three years. Moorman suggests this coincides with the finding that CMOs report only an ‘average’ contribution of marketing analytics to company performance.

Marketers were also shown to be ramping up their efforts in collecting customer data – with 60% collecting online behavioral data for targeting purposes and 88.5% expected to focus more on this over time.

Overall, the survey showed a positive outlook. Those surveyed reported the highest levels of optimism for the overall US economy in four years and marketing budgets are set to increase 4.3% over the next 12 months.

And this optimism is reflected across the pond. A recent study from the Chartered and Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Deloitte showed that UK marketers’ confidence has doubled over the past six months about both businesses performance and macro-economic issues.

Anne Godfrey, chief executive of CIM, said: “Over the last three quarters of this research we’ve seen a steady, albeit cautious, rise in optimism amongst UK marketers, and it’s particularly encouraging to see a corner turned in the outlook for UK economic performance.

“We’re also reassured to see this optimism starting to take root: stable budgets, improvements in the marketing jobs market and a continuing positive careers outlook are signs of an increasingly upbeat profession, which we hope to see even greater evidence of in the July wave of this survey.”

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