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Social media now key to strategy – but many still find it difficult to measure: study

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Most large UK businesses now see social media as key to their marketing and business strategies – but struggle to find effective ways of measuring it, new research concludes.

While two-thirds of client-side digital marketers working at large businesses agree that social data is integral to both strategies, only a fifth believe that they have developed a successful approach to gathering and understanding the data that it produces, the sixth Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, Managing and Measuring Social, from Econsultancy and Adobe found.

The study surveyed more than 650 digital marketers working both for large businesses and for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). It found that 66% of client-side marketers working for companies turning over more than £100m agreed that ‘social media was integral to business strategy’. Some 67% agreed that it was ‘integral to their marketing mix’.

At the same time 22% of marketers at larger organisations agreed they were able to harness social data successfully and 70% of marketers thought social media should be more rooted in data.

“Marketers are awash with social-related data coming from a range of marketing tools related to monitoring, managing and measuring social activity,” said Linus Gregoriadis, Econsultancy research director. “The challenge is to make sense of that information in the context of broader marketing campaigns and business objectives.”

Indeed the study found that many businesses were struggling to define objectives for their social activity, allowing them to measure its effect.

Just 28% of smaller companies and 42% of larger businesses said they measured their performance against defined social media objectives.

Neil Morgan, senior director, digital marketing solutions at Adobe EMEA, said: “We are excited by the insights revealed in this survey. While it is apparent that the social space is maturing, it is also very clear that there is a need to better manage and measure social media efforts.

“Social marketers are recognising that they cannot rely merely on results focused on fans, followers and top level sentiment, but need metrics and objectives with long-term and meaningful significance. Mature social media marketing is about customer segmentation, multichannel integration and business impact.”

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