Social Media Gains in Marketing ROI

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the way consumers communicate and advertising in these channels is quickly becoming an integral piece of the digital marketing toolkit. A recent MarketingSherpa survey found that eight out of 10 companies of all sizes are using social media to market their products and services. The same MarketingSherpa survey also found that 39% of business executives are finding social media to be very effective at influencing brand reputation; another 37% said social media is very effective at increasing brand awareness.

Perhaps even more important is the growing body of research that shows that social marketing campaigns are having a positive impact on marketing ROI. An Aberdeen Group study, The ROI on Social Media Marketing, reported that companies using social marketing showed a 5% average year-over-year improvement in customer profitability compared to just 2% for non-social media marketers. In addition, companies that used social marketing gained an average 4% year-over-year improvement in ROMI (return on marketing investment) compared to a 1% improvement for non-social media marketers. 

For search marketers in particular, consumers exposed to a brand’s social marketing
campaigns are 50% more likely to click on paid search ads, according to The Influenced: Social Media, Search and the interplay of Consideration and Consumption a study by media investment firm Group M.
There are numerous synergies between search and social marketing, and even their differences make them ideal complementary marketing channels. This report examines how search marketers can most effectively utilize social marketing campaigns, focusing on the strategies, tactics and case studies that are already generating success.

Adobe and Search Marketing Now would like to thank the following SearchEngineland
and SMX contributors for their assistance in developing this report: Ciaran Norris, head of digital, Mindshare Ireland; Jordan Kasteler, managing partner and SVP of content development, BlueGlass; Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO and managing director, MFE Interactive; Tyler Calder, director, paid search, SearchEnginePeople; Greg Finn, CMO, Cypress North; Kelly Gillease, VP, marketing, Viator; and Kent Gibbons, founder and director of search, SEOoptimise (U.K.). Thanks also to Karen Burka, who prepard this report.

Editor’s Note: This report was prepared during the beta period for Google +, which went live on September 20, 2011. While it is clear that Google intends to be a major player in the social media space, it is too early to evaluate the impact of Google +, or to include recommendations for social marketing on this channel. We have therefore not included it in this report, but suggest that marketers follow its growth and the opportunities it may present as another viable social marketing channel. 

Social and Search Marketing Synergies

Search marketing has proven its marketing worth by driving traffic, brand value and an audience ready
to convert. Social media – encompassing news, bookmarking and knowledge sites such as Digg and Wikipedia as well as networking and sharing sites such as Facebook and YouTube – provides huge audiences, lots of brand conversations and an entirely new marketing frontier. There are four key metrics that are useful when looking at the two digital marketing channels:

• Traffic: How many visitors do they drive?
• Demand/Search Intent: How likely are those visitors

to be after something specific?
• Conversion: Did the create positive business results

on the site?
• Branding: How can these sites influence branding by

appearing in search results?

Search generates huge amounts of traffic. A second search strength is user intent: people search when they are looking for something specific. They’re ready to convert, which is why search traffic can be so valuable. Measuring that conversion is also an important metric. Did visitors fill out a form, buy a product or perform in a way that produced positive business results? Finally, various studies show that search also can have branding value. There are few stories of entirely new brands being built from search, but brand lift has been shown in many ways. More important, brands can be hurt by bad reviews that show up in search and are helped by positive references. Since every search listing on a search engine has brand potential, search is very high in brand value.

In comparison, social sites also have the following strengths:

Traffic. Social sites can generate huge amounts of traffic. Facebook’s worldwide user base is at 750 million and counting.

Demand/Intent. Social sites demonstrate varying degrees of search intent, but all are positive. For example, visitors to social news sites are usually looking for specific information. Search intent can be even higher on sites like YouTube where users often are actively seeking a photo or video. Even at Twitter, search provides a way to seek out brand news and buzz.

Branding. There is strong branding potential on social media sites. The key is developing a positive tone around your brand and letting the viral nature of social media build the brand for you. Consider the search for JetBlue, where currently the company’s official site is listed along with its Twitter account and its YouTube channel. 

Source: searchmarketingnow.com