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There is no easy way to for marketers to spend money on social media

by Scott Hoffman on November 16, 2009

A new study shows nearly 85% of CMOs spend less than 10% of their budgets on social media, and what’s described as “non-traditional communications channels.” – this despite the growing momentum of Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I want to suggest a reason, buying Social Media is not easy.

There are very few solutions offered in the space. To date, banner ads haven’t proved out to be hugely successful inside a Social environment. Custom programs, which have shown more success are, well, custom and are very hard (if not impossible) to scale. Developing Metrics to measure the success of social media spending is still an elusive prospect.

There are some companies; marketers, vendors, and ad agencies that are at the forefront, and testing new ways to market inside social media. Companies like Pepsi and Dell have been experimenting. Agencies like Deep Focus are also making it their expertise. Vendors like Buddy Media & Lotame (my old company) are trying to make it easier, with different degrees of success. All the people behind these efforts will attest, this is not easy stuff.

Think about this analogy, a :30 Superbowl spot is valued at $3 Million it is one single transaction, the measurement of how many people watched the ad are available in hours, and the sentiment about the ad is publicly available the next day. That is easy. In contrast, to spend $3 Million in social media would require teams of people, on the client side, on the agency side, on the vendor side, constant management…and at the end of the day the results are at best “fuzzy”…

In my experience, revenue always flows to those solutions that are the easiest to use and manage, and social media is not easy. In my humble opinion, this is one of the primary reasons for the gap in spending.

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