Most Businesses Implementing Social Media Without Measuring ROI

    September 23, 2009
    Chris Crum

Mzinga and Babson Executive Education recently conducted a survey, which examined the adoption, use and current state of social technologies in business. The findings revealed that 86% of respondents use social technologies in one or more areas of business, including marketing, internal collaboration/learning, customer service and support, sales, and HR.

"This survey further confirms how important social technologies have become within existing business functions and processes," says Barry Libert, Chairman and CEO of Mzinga. The survey was conducted among 555 people from "various disciplines". Here are some additional findings:

– Over 60% use social technologies in some form as an ongoing component of their business

– Over 55% of respondents say their business currently devotes employee resources (part-time or full-time) to manage and drive their social media initiatives, while only 40% have also allocated budget to those efforts

– Common challenges organizations are facing include senior leadership acceptance, defining program strategies and goals, lack of dedicated resources, as well as lack of measurement and ROI tracking

The survey also found that the types of social applications being used among businesses is quite varied, but the majority are integrating them within their corporate websites. Most use vendor-provided solutions, but 26% have actually implemented proprietary solutions. 20% use free or trial downloads.

eMarketer has put together some graphs based on the data from this survey:

Business Areas Methods

In addition, respondents considered themselves satisfied with the social tools available to them, for the most part. The survey found that very few are actually measuring ROI, however. 

– 55% of respondents report that their current solutions are not lacking features or functions that they wish they had

– 79% of respondents are not currently measuring ROI in any for social media programs

– 41% of respondents do not know if their current social tools used can measure ROI

Lack of measurable data has been a common gripe of social media for businesses for quite some time. The thing is, there are so many different ways to use social media for the business perspective, that measurement can only come when a particular strategy is identified. Even in some of those it can be difficult.

We are beginning to enter a phase of social media, however, where these measurement issues are being addressed more and more. Analytics tools are becoming more common place, and will likely continue to do so. For example, YouTube and Facebook both have "insights" tools, which allow you to track engagement regarding a business social profile.