How attractive is social media? New research reveals the truth

How attractive is social media? New research reveals the truth

Is Twitter, Facebook or YouTube working for you? Have you checked social media effectiveness? Research from the DMA shows that while social media is popular with marketing folk, it may not be very effective for customer acquisition.

My first big social media campaign was back in 2009, it used Facebook and featured a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. The campaign was a Prize Draw where entrants could win an iPad. Additional clues for the Prize Draw were posted on a Facebook Group. Join the group, get the clues.

The campaign was multi-channel, so social media was just one element. Facebook was a few years old at the time, but that part of the campaign was not as successful as other channels.

How attractive is social media? New research reveals the truth

Over the years I’ve used Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare and others in my B2B marketing programmes and have always been left feeling deflated. I was beginning to think it was me, but new research from the Data Marketing Association (DMA) shows there is a difference between the popularity of channels and their effectiveness.

DMA research results

Chart I shows the results, note how social media is popular with Marketing experts, ranked in 3rd place, yet it is one of the least effective for customer acquisition (scoring 16%). Only web banners are less effective (scoring just 5%).

By contrast email, your own website and direct mail are considered the most effective methods for customer acquisition. In a B2B environment, I would add events and telemarketing to the list.

Modern marketing is integrated and omni/multi-channel, I’m not suggesting marketers should stop using social media. That would be daft. I’m suggesting there may be an element of hype surrounding social media effectiveness for customer acquisition (supported by the DMA figures).

I was part of the hype that surrounded the arrival of the first websites (I ran a web design company in 1995), and the early websites were little more than ‘brochures on the web’. They produced few measurable sales. Websites are different today, but I always view the latest marketing tools with caution.

So if customer acquisition is not social media’s strongest feature, what is? Customer service, product updates, recruitment? Let me know your thoughts.

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