Top marketers are spending more on social media than ever despite only a quarter being able to prove its impact, according to the latest CMO Survey.
According to the biannual report, social media spend now accounts for 13.8% of brands’ total marketing budget, up from 9.8% in August 2017 and marking the highest ever annual increase.
That’s despite only 24.7% of marketers suggesting they are able to prove its impact quantitatively, and 39.3% unable to show its impact at all. However, measurement is improving given 45% of marketers said they were unable to prove social’s impact this time last year, and only 16.3% were able to quantify results.
Social media investment is only set to increase though, with marketers expecting it to rise to 16.3% of their total marketing budget over the next 12 months and to 22.9% within the next 5 years.
While the majority of brands’ social media marketing continues to be handled in-house, companies are outsourcing more, given marketers say 21.7% of social activity is now performed by outside agencies, compared to 18.7% last year.
The role of marketing
The survey also finds the role of marketing has broadened over the past five years, particularly for service companies.
The number of marketers leading on certain activities within a company has also increased in certain areas, with 91.4% of marketers leading brand activity (up from 84.4% in 2014), 82.7% leading on social media (up from 78.4%) and 69.1% leading on PR (up from 65.8%).
However, there has been a drop in the number of marketers leading on advertising, from 83.9% in 2014 to 79.6% this year. Similarly, marketers leading on promotion has slipped from 74.9% four years ago to 71.6% today, and those managing positioning is down from 76.9% to 71.6%.
Pressure from the CEO and board to prove the value of marketing has decreased slightly over the same period, from 62% in August 2014 to 59.9% this year.
Lastly, the past few years have seen a rise in companies taking a stance on more political issues. However, 78.6% still believe it is inappropriate for brands to do this, however this is down from 82.6% six months ago.
The highest percentage of respondents (67.8%) believe it is a mistake to get involved in political issues as it will have a “negative affect” on their company’s ability to attract and retain customers, while 59.5% think it will make their business stand out for the wrong reasons.