Is Social Media Marketing Effective?

Brands are increasing their investments in online marketing. According to eMarketer, U.S. marketers will spend $156.1 billion on digital advertising in 2019, up 10.3 percent over 2018, for a compounded annual growth rate of 9.3 percent.

Most brand marketers—68 percent—plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2019, according to a Forrester survey. What they’re doing with their money is shining a light on these marketing investments in the current digital age.

The ‘Unbundling’ of Direct Marketing

Social media marketing seems like a natural investment for a marketer. However, smart marketers are quickly realizing that social media marketing does not offer the premium ROI on a brand’s voice that direct marketing does.

Not only does a brand’s social media message not rise to the same level of quality as a brand’s direct marketing message, social media campaigns can cost many times more. According to data from Yodle, you will need to buy six times more ad impressions, 4.1 times more clicks and the highest cost-per-engagement ratio (CPE) to get the same attention—and interactions—on social media as on other media channels. Because social media is free, using ads to drive engagement can very quickly grow the cost per engagement. Brands that are using social media marketing in this way are only serving themselves.

More Investments in Social

Yet companies will spend an expected $24.1 billion on social media marketing in 2019, an increase of 22.2 percent over 2018 spending of $18.3 billion. These expected increases are because of a growing trend: More marketers are dedicating more of their ad budget to brands’ social channels. Also, in the Forrester survey, 40 percent of marketers surveyed said their company used “corporate social” channels as “a primary channel for posting and earning brand attention.”

In this environment, brands will continue to pay more to reach their audience on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Social networks are looking for more revenue to help the user experience. They’re going to use that revenue to push their own businesses, especially their related verticals.

But Brand Side Effects

The reputation of brands on social media is just as crucial as the financial figures. A brand’s emotional appeal is reaching out to its community in new and innovative ways to show their audience that the brand is a leader in their space. But it can be misleading and harmful to a brand’s reputation when they do so over a short period of time, or in a small sample size. How important is it to keep the lines of communication open with your audience on social media? It’s important to create culture on social media by connecting with your audience on a personal level. Is it good business to focus only on how a brand is performing today? That’s a big concern for marketers, who are looking for holistic strategies for engagement in the digital world.

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