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Measuring the Business Effects of Web 2.0

Video-sharing, social networking show biggest benefit

New Web technologies that generate buzz may seem attractive, but businesses must keep an eye toward measurable benefits before investing. ROI is a top concern of marketers, in tough economic times more than ever.

McKinsey Quarterly’s “Global Survey” polled companies about the benefits gained from using various Web 2.0 tools, both internally and externally. The study found that several technologies were a boon for relationships among employees as well as with customers and external partners.

When it came to customer-related benefits, blogs were the most useful tool, bringing measurable benefits to 51% of responding companies worldwide. That was followed by video-sharing and social networking, at 48% each, and RSS feeds, at 45%.

Companies Worldwide that Have Benefitted* from Using Select Web 2.0 Technologies, June 2009 (% of respondents)

Technologies such as wikis, podcasts, ratings and tags were less useful, but still benefited customer relationships for about one-quarter to one-third of companies worldwide.

More than one-half of respondents (52%) said Web 2.0 tools increased marketing effectiveness, while 43% reported higher customer satisfaction and 38% reduced marketing costs.

Businesses in the high-tech/telecom industry were most likely to report customer-related benefits of Web 2.0, at 65%, followed by business/legal/professional services firms, at 60%.

Companies cannot simply adopt these technologies and expect their customers to use them en masse, however. Among firms reporting measurable benefits from Web 2.0, 74% said it was important to integrate the tools with other forms of customer interaction, and 52% said marketing the Web 2.0 initiatives themselves was a best practice.

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Check out today’s other article, “Media Dollars Shift to Digital in Downturn.”



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