The UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) recently teamed up with Ipsos ASI and Bloomberg to carry out new research to assess how businesses are adapting to our social media fuelled world.
The results appear largely consistent with previous studies, although do provide a valuable benchmark for comparison with other data sources. And while many of the findings were focussed on adoption and usage patterns across four big social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube), the most interesting statistics came from marketers’ self-assessment of the value their businesses derive from social media efforts:
- Only 27% of marketers use social media as a “core part of a campaign”, yet 28% claim to still be “just experimenting.”
- Across all of the major channels, more people claim their social media activities are ‘not at all effective’ than ‘extremely effective,’ with YouTube being seen as the channel where being effective is most problematic.
- Most marketers don’t appear to be measuring social media consistently or to any advanced degree, with the headline ‘number of Facebook fans’ metric being the only metric used to an advanced level by more than half of the marketers questioned.
- Only 6% of businesses claim their social media skills and competencies are optimal with a further 50% claiming to be either below their industry average or fundamentally ill-equipped.
- No surprise, the biggest barrier preventing businesses from getting value from social media is the time required to manage the channels properly, with the inability to measure and lack of budget also commonly cited.
- And yet, despite all this, the vast majority of businesses increased their investments in social media marketing in both 2011 and 2012.
The findings are clear. We’re still a long way from reaching a mature state where marketers and businesses can agree on the true value that the social web can bring. And marketers, above any other department or profession, are best placed to spearhead the move towards more sophisticated and progressive use of these platforms to deliver business growth.