75% of retailers say investment in social media marketing is paying off

According to a new report, around three-quarters of retailers and marketers say that they’ve seen at least a reasonable return on their investment in social media marketing.

The figures come from Salesforce’s new ‘2016 State of Marketing’ report, which asked retailers, brands and marketing professionals in the U.S. about their use of social media marketing. They found that 75% said that their efforts had delivered a “significant” or at least “some” return on investment (ROI). This is an impressive statistic on its own, but it’s even more remarkable when compared to last year’s report in which just 29% said the same.

Why are brands seeing better ROI with social media marketing in 2016?

One of the biggest concerns brands tend to have with social media marketing, which is a time and resource-intensive marketing activity requiring no little skill, is that it does not deliver the same returns as other, more traditional marketing methods and platforms. It’s not necessarily the case that social media does not deliver on ROI – it’s that it’s very hard to track and analyse results in any tangible way.

These recent survey results show that not only are brands better able to analyse ROI and other measurable KPIs and metrics in relation to their social media campaigns, but they’re also gaining a deeper understanding of the medium itself.

The Salesforce report also found that 63% of high-performing marketers integrate social media into their overall marketing strategy rather than focusing on a single social campaign at a time. By developing cross-channel, holistic campaigns, these marketers are able to get the very most from the platform.

Conversely, if you look at statistics for social media in how it leads directly to sales, you’ll be disappointed. Marketing platform vendor Custora found that over Christmas 2015 in the U.S, just a paltry 1.8% of online retail sales came from shoppers clicking directly from links from social network content to retail websites, whereas email marketing was found to have driven an impressive 20% of direct sales.

What to expect from next year’s report

As brands continue to hone their expertise on social media and understand the true potential of the medium, we can hopefully expect to see more marketers and retailers reporting good ROI from social media campaigns. Nate Elliot from American technology and market research company Forrester, predicts just one possible change relating to the very specific nature of producing content for different platforms:

“You can’t justify the time and resources it takes create unique content if people aren’t seeing it,”

 “In the next year or two we’ll hit a tipping point where brands will focus on repurposing content for different platforms.”

Have you hit upon the secret to maximising ROI on social media marketing? If so, what would your top tips be to other marketers who are struggling to justify the time and money spent on social campaigns? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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