Technology and Measurement: the Biggest Challenges for Social Media Marketers

Last week, Simply Measured, one of the leading social media analytics companies out there, hosted their first annual conference =LIFT in Seattle. The 1-day conference provided marketers with a lot of insight on the latest industry trends, benchmarks, and best practices on social media marketing.


The keynote speech delivered by Nate Elliott, VP & Principal Analyst Serving B2C Marketing Professionals at Forrester Research, was a great kick-off of the event. We were so impressed by the data and insights from his talk we wanted to share them with you.

Technology and Measurement are the Biggest Challenges for Social Media Marketers

Social media is bigger than ever before. From 2014, both agency fees for social media and social media advertising spend have been increasing and will continue to increase. About 9.6 billion dollars will be spent on social media in 2015 as Forrester predicts.


(Slide credit: Nate Elliot from Forrester at =LIFT)

However, it looks like that the state of social media analytics is not catching up with the fast growing social media spend. Based on Forrester’s survey in 2015, 53% of marketers consider measuring the performance of branded social media profiles as the biggest challenge.

Another survey by Forrester found that social marketers are not satisfied with their vendor or the tool they use to manage their branded social profiles as only 27% of them would recommend the vendor or tool to their peers.

Marketers are Not Satisfied with Current Social Media Technologies

Most of the challenges social media marketers facing can be solved by the right technology vendors, but a lot of them chose the wrong partners. A survey shows that 69% of social media marketers agree that it’s more effective to buy all your social tools from the same vendor, and this is one reason they are enthralled by the promise of social suites.

Unfortunately, Forrester found that social suites offer more problems than solutions. Although they promise all solutions under one roof, a lot of them still force marketers to use substandard tools. Moreover, integrated social suites remain an empty promise as vendors’ integration plans rarely succeed.

Marketers Accept Almost Any Social Media Metrics

Being in the industry for more than 10 years, Nate has witnessed how social media measurement has remained the biggest problem for social media marketers since 2003. Although there are a lot metrics, mainly engagement metrics, available for social media marketers to measure their success, not many of them are the right ones for the right programs.

An interesting case he mentioned was that in the 84 entries for Forrester Groundswell Awards, marketers cited 57 different metrics to show their campaign success.

Bad measurement leads to bad outcomes. Forrester’s study shows that senior marketers, who are very likely to be the ones who will make the decision on providing the financial, technical, and people power you need for your social media activities, don’t believe the flimsy metrics social marketers give them. Also, optimizing the social media programs based on the wrong metrics will lead to failure instead of success.

What Can Social Media Markers Do to Solve the Problem?

So how can we choose the right technologies and metrics to better measure the performance of our social media activities? Nate gave us some recommendations at the end of his presentation.

For social media marketing technologies, he suggests marketers to buy social point solutions instead of social suites. Although marketers wish to use a platform that has it all. It’s hard for a single tool cover all aspects and excel at them at the same time.

When looking for the right metrics to measure social media activities, marketers should take their business goals into consideration. Forrester defines social media marketing programs into three categories based on the customer life circle: social reach marketing, social depth marketing, and social relationship marketing. Nate suggested marketers measure social reach marketing by its ability to drive exploration, measure social depth marketing by its ability to generate sales, and measure social relationship marketing by its ability to foster loyalty.


(Slide credit: Nate Elliot from Forrester at =LIFT)

Did you attended =LIFT this year? We would love to hear from you if you have any insights on social media analytics to share!

Learn more about Delightful’s social media strategy consulting service.

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Thanks for reading!

@BiancaHu – Digital Marketing Specialist


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