Our just-released 2017 State of Social Marketing Report shares survey results from 2,738 social media marketing professionals from 111 countries. This report shares real-world insight and understanding of a dynamic industry where new networks emerge, old networks evolve, and the user base continues to rise at rapid rates. Here are the three biggest challenges social marketers are facing right now, according to social marketers themselves.
1. ROI, Once Again
Measuring ROI was listed, again, as the biggest challenge to 58.7 percent of marketers in 2017, compared to 61.1 percent in 2016. 33.6 percent of respondents claimed that tying social to business goals is also a major challenge.
This year, the social media industry placed higher emphasis on collecting and analyzing social data, so we included two new categories to gauge whether they presented challenges to marketers. In total, 12.2 percent of respondents said collecting social data was a major challenge, and an even higher 24.4 percent struggle to use social data to inform marketing strategies.
The challenges presented by both brands and agencies were very similar, but there were two noticeable differences. First, brands reported struggling more than agencies in developing a social strategy: 29 percent of brands versus 15.7 percent of agencies.
2. Tying Social to Business Goals
Marketers are spending record amounts of money on social advertising. By the end of 2017, social network ad spending could reach $35.98 billion, representing 16 percent of all digital ad spending globally, according to eMarketer.
However, there is a large disconnect between dollars spent and how those dollars are supporting strategic traffic and conversion goals. Only 31.6 percent of all marketers claim to have both web traffic and conversion goals for social. This means 68.4 percent of marketers are not establishing deliberate goals for both traffic and conversion, or are completely avoiding setting goals altogether.
26.9 percent of brands said they have both web traffic and conversion goals for social. 22.1 percent of brands reported having only web traffic goals, and 8.1 percent that said they only have conversion goals. A majority of brands do not have any goals set for either web traffic or conversion: 42.8 percent reported having neither.
Goal-setting seems to be a higher priority in agencies, taking into account client expectations that agencies consistently set and surpass stated goals. Only 27.4 percent of agencies, in comparison to 42.8 percent of brands, reported having neither web traffic nor conversion goals. This is 15.4 percent less than what brands reported.
41 percent of agencies are actively setting both traffic and conversion goals. A combined 31.6 perent have set goals for either traffic or conversion.
3. Securing Budget and Resources for Social
Analytics software was selected as the most-needed resource for marketers in 2017 to do their best work, by both brands and agencies. Brands reported almost evenly that analytics software (44.8 percent) and the need for more personnel specifically focused on social media (44.2 percent) are what marketers need most.
Nearly half of agencies (49.5 percent) reported the need for analytics software to optimize social strategies, and 34.1 percent identified human resources as their greatest need. 11.4 percent of brands and agencies said publishing software would help them do their best work.
Despite the great need for analytics software, marketers are having trouble finding the funds needed to acquire all of the software they need.
A majority of brands (42.8%) do not have any goals set for either web traffic or conversion.
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Download the full report (including the latest data from all major social networks) here.
Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of a paid partnership between Simply Measured and Convince & Convert.
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