Measuring ROI of social media a top concern for marketing, ad execs

Jul 18, 2012 – A 2011 poll by Ipsos Reid found that 50 percent of Canadians have at least one social networking profile and the prevalence is spanning generations. Eighty-six percent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have a Twitter account, Facebook page or other social account. Among 35 to 54 year olds, 62 percent have active profiles and those aged 55 or older are becoming more active, with 43 percent having a social media profile. But what is the value of a tweet or a Facebook “like”?

For many marketing executives, that’s a key question. According to a new survey from Toronto-based The Creative Group, more than one in four (27 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said their greatest stumbling block when it comes to social media is measuring the success of their efforts. Finding knowledgeable staff to execute social media programs is problematic for 19 percent of respondents.

The Creative Group asked Canadian advertising and marketing executives “When it comes to implementing social media initiatives, which of the following would you consider to be the greatest challenge for your agency/firm?”

Their responses:

Measuring or defining return on investment — 27%
Finding knowledgeable staff to execute social media tasks — 19%
Gaining executive support for social media initiatives — 17%
Finding budget for social media initiatives — 14%
Other — 1%
Nothing/no challenges — 18%
Don’t know/no answer — 5%
Total — 101%*

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

“It’s not always easy to determine which social media channels and forms of outreach via these sites are most beneficial for a business,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in Canada in a statement. “Tracking a variety of metrics, like numbers of retweets or shares, can provide a more complete picture of the success of a social media campaign, but it can’t capture everything since many marketing campaigns, social media included, are designed to build brand awareness over a long timeframe.”

Finding the right people to plan, execute and monitor social media programs has its own set of challenges. “Hiring managers should look for candidates who are passionate about using social media, but more importantly, who can spot trends and identify solutions to real-world business problems, using sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.”