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Are UK B2Bs Still Struggling to Measure Social Media ROI?

Majority can measure social ROI—but most are only able to do so some of the time

Determining return on investment (ROI) isn’t new to UK business-to-business (B2B) marketers, but how are they doing when it comes to measuring newer digital channels such as social media? Research finds that the answer is so-so.

March 2014 polling conducted by B2B Marketing in association with Circle Research found that demonstrating social media ROI was a majority activity among UK B2B marketers. However, even those doing so hadn’t mastered it. Just 16% of respondents said they were able to measure return from social completely or most of the time, while the remaining 44% could only do so sometimes.

One reason marketers may struggle to always measure social ROI could be due to the different marketing tactics and networks within the social media space itself.

UK B2B marketers were active on many social network platforms. More than nine in 10 of those surveyed used business-oriented LinkedIn, the social network of choice among UK business professionals, and 89% used Twitter. The huge differences between these two platforms alone—the former more focused on professional networking and content, and the latter a place for 140-character clips of (often real-time) information—could already make coming up with a standard measurement system more challenging. And that doesn’t even take into account the overwhelming percentages using Facebook and YouTube.

Despite difficulties demonstrating ROI, marketers have still found social an effective marketing tactic. In October 2013, when Omobono and The Marketing Society asked UK B2B digital marketers about the effectiveness of social media, around seven in 10 respondents said that the channel was an effective way to deepen customer relationships, and similar percentages said the same for raising brand awareness and developing brand positioning. In addition, nearly 80% said social media marketing strengthened thought leadership.

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