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Marketers struggle to measure social

News, 17 February 2016

DURHAM, NC: Marketers in the US expect to increase their spending on social media and mobile, but few believe these channels significantly boost business performance at present, a study has found.

The CMO Survey – published by the American Marketing Association (AMA), Deloitte and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business – polled 289 leading marketers.

And it revealed that social media is forecast to receive 20.9% of marketing budgets in the next five years, compared with the total of 5.6% in 2009.

To maximise the returns on this investment, however, most brands will need to dramatically improve their measurement capabilities.

Currently, the analysis discovered, only 11.5% of organisations can "demonstrate the impact" of their expenditure on social platforms.

Moreover, a modest 3.4% of the panel agreed this channel contributes "very highly" to overall business performance.

According to Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and a professor at Fuqua, existing approaches to social should be thoroughly re-examined in light of these figures.

"Companies are spending a lot on social media right now, but demonstrating its contribution depends on more than investment in analytics, though that will help," she said.

"Firms must also take other steps to integrate social with the rest of the company's marketing strategies.

"This will require changes to where social media is located, its involvement in the planning process, and consideration of how the firm's customer and brand assets are managed in social media."

Similar trends were observable when discussing mobile marketing, which is projected to see its share of spend increase from 5.9% to 14.6% in the next three years.

Over 40% of featured enterprises, though, reported that marketing on these devices "did not contribute at all" to performance today, versus 0.5% saying it "very highly" benefitted the bottom line.

"The findings show that while social, mobile and analytics spending is on the rise, they're falling short when it comes to boosting the bottom line," Diana O'Brien, Deloitte's CMO, said.

Data sourced from Fuqua School of Business; additional content by Warc staff