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Paid social media advertising: Is it worthwhile?

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 21 May, 2013
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New Nielsen research reviews investment and ROI from social media

Nielsen have shared some recent interesting findings from their research on Paid Social Media Advertising 2013.  500 Digital Marketing and Media Professionals were contacted by phone and email, and asked for their views and practices on social media advertising. The report concludes:

'Marketers are increasingly viewing and using paid social media advertising as an integrated tool. Social media is no longer being viewed as its own discrete medium but instead used alongside other tactics to achieve an overall, usually branding related, objective.......,

but there is a gap between how marketers would like to use the medium and the current reality. This gap is the most pronounced when it comes to measuring ROI...'

Key insights I think are worth highlighting include:

  • 3/4 of respondents use Paid Advertising and 64% were seeking to increase spend this year.
  • Budget spend is shifting from off-line to on-line.
  • ROI is being measured in social mentions including Likes, PIns and CTRs. Though Agencies forecast sales generation, shares and brand metrics will be more prominent and relevant to justify spend.

Some key insights from the report (PDF download) include:

How are advertisers using social media?

Advertisers and Agencies are blending use of free social media updates with paid advertising to engage and reach out for new customers; 89% of Advertisers use free tools and 75% buy paid media.


What % of Advertiser's  budget spend is allocated to paid social media advertising?

Social are fairly new advertising media with early adopters embracing it three years ago and 20% in the last year. This may reflect why 70% of Advertisers have indicated that 1/10 of their on-line advertising budget is allocated to this media and that ROI is still a challenge for some.


Where is the budget coming from for social media advertising?

Respondents are shifting budget from off-line to on-line advertising to fund social media advertising, and are gearing up to increase budget spend this year. 2/3 of Advertisers have a dedicated budget for it!.


How effective is social media advertising?

In the report, Advertisers indicated that 'defining the campaign's primary advertising objective before campaign start' and 'establishing metric that will be measured before campaign start' was ' very important' or 'somewhat important'.

29% of Advertisers and 27% of Agencies feel it's effective and demonstrates ROI

NielsenpaidsocialmediaadvertisingFig12MediabuyerviewsPlease let us know your thoughts or experiences of social media advertising, or add a question on best practices to our Answers forum questions and answers on Social media marketing


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