Report Shows Social Channel Effectiveness ... Maybe - Social Media Explorer
Report Shows Social Channel Effectiveness … Maybe
Report Shows Social Channel Effectiveness … Maybe

The latest report on marketing leadership is out from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Their survey of 5,000 marketers asks questions like what specific channels are you using for digital marketing, do you plan to increase your spend here, and so on. Reports like this don’t mean much to an individual company other than showing overall trends. But they’re still useful.

The study focuses on the digital space, so there’s no real comparison to off-line tactics or execution, but with that in mind, here’s my quick read of the report which surfaced a few interesting nuggets:

  • Blogging is the one area that seems to be in decline. While 59 percent of respondents say it’s effective, that’s the lowest number reported among a couple dozen tactical areas. Blogging also has the highest degree of people saying it’s not very effective. This is disappointing to me. If positioned properly and with the target audience, not company, in mind, a blog can be a powerful search engine and customer magnet. Plus, you own it. You don’t own Facebook or Twitter.
  • Social advertising is among the chief areas marketers say they’ll increase budgets for this year. That’s right in line with what should happen as Facebook and other channels ratchet down organic post reach. We’re going to have to think about paid media in our social planning from now on. It’s not fair, in my opinion — your social audience has opted in to see your content — but it’s the way of the world in Zuckerbergland.
  • Quality of leads, new business development and customer acquisition are three of the top four problem areas marketers identified in relation to digital channels. Since social media is a major focus of digital marketing these days, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Social is a much more natural fit for customer retention rather than acquisition. Though I think the push toward social advertising is going to correct that frustration a bit.

Perhaps the most interesting chart in the report, at least to me, was the effectiveness rating of various social networks:

Social Channel Effectiveness

As expected, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn dominate the channel usage. Google+ and YouTube are hanging in there, but then there’s a huge drop-off in usage of blogging. Instagram, Pinterest and even podcasts are used by less than 34 percent of the total.

Pinterest, surprisingly, is only used by 24 percent and 15 percent of those say it’s not very or not at all effective.

More broadly, though, this chart seems to say that most marketers are mostly satisfied with the channels they are using. And that’s where I call bullshit. Finding a marketing manager or CMO to say, out loud, “We’re very happy with what we’re getting out of this social channel,” is like finding a fully inflated football at Gillette Stadium. They’re few and far between.

So while the data was gathered from 5,000 marketers, we have to question whether or not the bias of being asked by social companies (Salesforce Marketing Cloud and LinkedIn) had an effect. Sure, you can argue that if a CMO isn’t happy with what they’re getting out of a network, they’d stop using it, so the answers would be holistically biased to the positive.

Yes, if pressed, we could all find an effective use of any given channel. But the truth is — at least from talking to brands and agencies and business owners around the country — we aren’t typically doing that.

Are you or your clients satisfied with what you’re getting out of social channels? Do your experiences line up with this data? I’d be curious to know. It seems like reality and this report are a bit dissimilar.

The comments are yours.


About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
  • Jeffrey K. Rohrs

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for your interest in our report! For clarity, I wanted to note that this report, 2015 State of Marketing, wasn’t in partnership with LinkedIn (however, The State of Marketing Leadership report we did last fall was).

    There’s definitely a variance in how B2B and B2C marketers rate the efficacy of social channels, so our team is currently crunching the data to provide a clearer insight into those differences. For example, B2C marketers rate Facebook 20% more effective than B2B marketers while B2B marketers say are seeing greater success with new platforms like Mobage and KakaoTalk (of course, these base sizes are smaller since marketers were only asked to rate the effectiveness if they were already using the channel).

    If we were to look at the data by job title, there would likely be a similar divide between how CMOs rate channel effectiveness compared to their front-line folks. Our hope is that this report provides some high-level insights, and we look forward to further breaking down survey data so that it’s actionable by
    business type, industry, etc.

    So…stay tuned for further analysis–we’ll be sure to send it your way.


    Jeffrey K. Rohrs

    VP, Marketing Insights – Salesforce


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