Is social media undervalued?

I wrote earlier this week about the launch of new social media reports in Google Analytics.  The new reports aim to put a clear financial value on the social media activity you do.  Adobe however think that social media is fundamentally undervalued right now.

The news comes out of the annual Adobe Digital Marketing Summit.  Whilst the new Google reports are attempting to more accurately measure the true value of social media in delivering traffic, revenue and engagement, Adobe believe that at the moment it is undervalued by around 100%.

The Adobe study looked at how marketers measure the impact of their social media activity.  They did this by analysing nearly 2 billion visits to 225 websites.  They found that marketers have been underestimating the value of social traffic significantly.

Key findings of the report include:

• The use of last-click attribution, the most common attribution model used by marketers, may cause marketers to undervalue social media’s website impact by up to 94 percent

• First-click attribution models more accurately capture the benefits of social media in engaging customers earlier in the buying process

• Significant differences in the results of first-click vs. last-click attribution data for various social media sites may cause marketers to change how they allocate the budgets across social and other digital channels

Adobe said that despite the ubiquitous nature of social media, it still isn't really regared as a channel for driving traffic and revenue, but their data suggests it really should be.  To give social media its dues they suggest adjusting how we measure contributions.  They correctly report that the predominent means of measuring on the web is the last click method.

They argue that this method undervalues social media because the main benefits of social media occur elsewhere in the sales funnel.  Therefore they suggest using first-click attribution instead, which of course measures the first time the consumer touched the brand.

Adobe found that when using first click wins rather than last click wins saw social media deliver on average $1.13 in revenue per visitor, compared to $0.60 when using last click wins.

“As an industry, digital marketers have been quick to add social media to the marketing mix, but have perhaps not considered new and better ways to measure this complex channel,” they said said.”This study shows that marketers tend to default to traditional direct measurement models. Better measurement of social marketing will lead to better ROI.”

Is first click attribution better than last click?

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2 thoughts on “Is social media undervalued?

  1. Pingback: The Future of Social ROI | WTG BLOG

  2. Half the problem has been that managers haven't had a clue how to value social media work so any valuation that has been given has been a bit of a guess.

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