A new report has revealed that more than half of B2B marketers say their ability to measure the impact of their social media activity is between average and poor.
The research is the result of a survey of 150 senior B2B marketers and was carried out by B2B Marketing and Immediate Future in an effort to explore the bottom-line benefits of social media activity.
Social media ROI is a heavily debated topic in marketing circles. Measuring the impact of social media activity isn’t as straightforward as running a PPC campaign, for instance, where the financial returns can be determined at a glance and strategy tweaked real-time if necessary.
According to the survey, only seven per cent of respondents rate their ability to measure their social media activity as ‘very strong’. And while just over a third describe it as ‘strong’, it’s that 58 per cent who rate it as between ‘average’ and ‘very poor’ who suggest there is still much room for improvement in the industry.
As far as specific tactical metrics are concerned, marketers appear reasonably confident in their ability to track social engagement, followers and shares. Though given the ease with which even a personal user could find this information, it is somewhat surprising that these percentages aren’t more emphatic.
Measuring social sentiment can be a daunting task if done manually. That said, there is such a wealth of monitoring tools out there that marketers really have no excuse for not having a better grasp of this metric; 11 per cent is confusingly low.
As for tracking website stats from social activity, this is a straightforward task and 82 per cent of marketers surveyed said they were comfortable measuring traffic data.
Drilling down into specific website metrics, however, is evidently not quite as simple. Unique page views (58 per cent), time-on-site (56 per cent) and bounce rates (55 per cent) from social traffic can all be easily discovered in analytics tools, but those surveyed were clearly not particularly confident in their ability to measure these metrics.
Website conversion rates from social traffic is apparently an area of concern, with just 42 per cent saying they were able to measure this accurately. This is a concerning figure, given the importance of marketing teams being able to convince boardrooms of social ROI.
According to Katy Howell of Immediate Future, it’s crucial that marketing teams strategically plan their measurement tactics in order to gain long-term benefits.
“The biggest mistake is trying to measure as you go along: retrofitting metrics isn’t only a chore, it’ll also leave you with gaps,” she said. “So plan the customer journeys through the sales pipeline, and look at the touchpoints you can measure on social, on your website and by simply asking your colleagues in sales for their reports.
“Don’t just take a stab at KPIs either: define the metrics. Some solutions can be easy – a separate landing page, a tweak to an existing CRM, for example – others will be longer-term investments, requiring buy-in and technology. But at least know where you’re heading.”
The full report, which also explores social selling and lead generation, can be found here.