SYDNEY: Despite their concerns about transparency, viewability and ROI, Australian marketers continue to spend around a quarter (26%) of their media budgets on social media platforms, according to research by Ad News.

The title surveyed more than 50 marketers across different industry sectors to understand which platforms they were using and how.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook played a dominant role, with almost all (98%) respondents using it; around half (53%) used Instagram, with YouTube (45%) also popular; LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat came in some way behind.

Facebook was also the top choice for spending, with 75% of respondents indicating that they spent most there. YouTube was back on 13% and LinkedIn on 6%.

But less than half (45%) felt that Facebook was always effective or effective most of the time in meeting their marketing needs. Instagram returned a similar figure (46%).

This was still significantly better than other platforms: YouTube was the next best performer on 33%, followed by LinkedIn (26%), Snapchat (15%) and Twitter (13%).

The main point of using social media was to raise brand awareness, cited by 79% of respondents, followed by engagement (58%), driving traffic to a location (52%) and driving sales or conversions (42%). Improving reach/frequency and targeting both came in at 40%.

Audience targeting, however, was seen by 70% of respondents as one of the particular benefits of social media marketing; low costs (50%) and reach and frequency (48%) were also attractions.

Aspect of social media that marketers disliked included a “lack of transparency and accountability”, “terrible viewability”, “brand safety concerns”, “reporting issues” and a “low ROI”.

A majority of marketers (60%) were using cost of impressions as a measure of success, and a broadly similar proportion (55%) viewed social media as being more cost effective than other media channels on a CPM basis.

Other success metrics being used included cost of click-throughs (53%), impact on sales (51%) and cost of conversions/acquisitions (40%).

Sourced from Ad News; additional content by WARC staff