Study reveals social moves centre stage in the marketing mix

69% of brands say social is important and integrated into plans

Over 230 brands took part in the immediate future benchmark study: The Business Value of Social.

Comparing performance and business value of social media, results reveals that social is becoming a more serious business. More than two-thirds of respondents say that social is now important to and integrated in the marketing mix. Over half of brands are tailoring content to behaviours and interests and 55% are tailoring some of their content by social media platform.

Katy Howell, CEO at immediate future, says: “We are seeing brands get more serious about managing the sophistication of social marketing. For instance, we’ve talked for years about vanity metrics being a poor measure of performance. This new benchmark report shows that only 5% think that measuring followers and fans is a good metric in delivering value.”

The report is not wholly positive though. 88% of brands say they are unable to demonstrate ROI with only a third of brands linking social goals to those of the business. It’s clear this is a cause for concern, with 1 in 3 marketers stating they have a lack of confidence in achieving their objectives.

“There is some way to go”, continues Katy, “resourcing is the biggest challenge with a greater need for expertise ranging from analytical and copywriting through to design and paid. Rarely found in just one individual, companies are still yet to make the investment in better skills and more support.”

Given that 54.5% of marketers say their leading objective is brand awareness, it comes as a surprise that so few are investing budgets in paid social either. 43% of brands spend under 10% of their marketing budget on paid. With over half the world’s population now on social and activity up almost 40% since the pandemic, cut through to gain attention is a big challenge.

The report goes into further detail on the challenges that create barriers to business value. It details the obstacles to creating content, metrics considered most important and the leading objective for social.

The Benchmark study can be downloaded for free at