With social media having demonstrated strong success in bringing together device users globally, advertisers haven’t trailed far behind. This has driven market opportunities as well as a shift in budget focus. According to a new report from Gartner, 80% of social marketers are now having a social ad programme with two-thirds able to provide specialised customer support over the coming year.
Social marketing budgets are being increased
Gartner surveyed 250 marketing executives in North America between March and May 2016 to understand their social and mobile marketing activities.
Whilst there’s been an overall decline in organic reach of campaigns on social media, targeted ads have been successful at halting that decline. In return, investments in social media have increased.
Jay Wilson, Research director at Gartner, adds:
“38% of respondents said they have a social advertising program in place right now but that number will more than double in the coming year, with an additional 42% starting social advertising efforts for the first time.”
However, advertising alone can’t guarantee success. Indeed, marketers have begun to turn to employees and social networks in order to extend reach and engage. 36% of respondents said they already had an employee advocacy programme whilst 27% were planning to implement one over the next 12 months.
“Influencer marketing programs that identify, engage and provide a value exchange between brands, industry thought leaders, content creators, celebrities and media outlets are a prime way to scale advocacy in social,” said Mr. Wilson. “These programs are also on the rise as a hedge against declining reach of brand posts. Thirty five percent of marketers surveyed have these programs in place, with another 28% planning implementation in the coming year.”
Nevertheless, social media marketing has still some way to go to shine when it comes to effectiveness. Conversion and transaction results from mobile social media campaigns aren’t as successful as advertisers are hoping. Buy buttons and similar conversions ranked sixth and seventh for effectiveness, whilst shopable content came in close to last.
According to the research, social marketing will grow in importance in line with ever more social media tools being created. Requests for customer support through mobile messaging apps will exceed those through traditional social media by 2019, the findings suggest.
59% of social marketers are already using social engagement and customer service technology. Almost two-thirds of marketers are planning to increase investments in this area over the next 12 months.