The Research on Social Media Marketing ROI is Beginning to Trickle In

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My role in this company is to research how Blue Brownie Creative can better meet the ever changing needs of clients.  That’s a great role for me because although Derek tells me otherwise, I’m not too sure I have a creative bone in my body.  Analytical bones, on the other hand, I have way too many of.  Since we are all about social media marketing and how quality video production can up your company’s online reputation, I turned to research to find out exactly what we can do for clients to make them shine, or go viral, or both.  I thought maybe my research would be helpful for anyone considering our services too.  What we do is complex.  I want to help you understand what your return will be when you start using social media video.

“A new study published in the ‘Journal of Marketing’…”

The first complaint you hear about from marketing teams is that it is hard to see how money spent on social media marketing is working for them.  The internet has exploded over the past decade, outpacing the ability of researchers to keep up with trends that impact companies bottom-line.  But we are now beginning to see some hard evidence that social media marketing means real ROI.

A new study published in the ‘Journal of Marketing’ in January of this year took a look at a social media marketing campaign done by a retail liquor store chain in the northwest.  The chain had long used a customer membership program to reach out to customers with specials and events.  In 2014, they extended this outreach by creating a page on a social media site and inviting customers to follow them.  The study then reviewed the online behavior and purchasing behavior of the group that joined the social site and a control group that did not join.  The chain regularly put out messages, specials and invites to their followers.  The study found that the group following the chain on social media not only spent more on single transactions, they also bought a more diverse group of products from the chain.  In general, customers who purchase more diverse products are more likely to return to the store over time.

Beyond the increased sales, this study found that social media marketing went a step further than television advertising could.  Social media marketing creates a feeling of community, of connectedness, that television advertising cannot mimic.  Although increased sales now is a lovely result of social media marketing, I am willing to bet that we will soon see studies that show that this community of customers has a powerful impact on the bottom line for years to come.  Measurement of that return on investment will show in company longevity, not just dollars.

“…social media marketing means real ROI.”

So far, studies regarding company financial return from social media spending have focused on user generated content (UGC).  UGC functions as an effective word-of-mouth source and indicator of product quality.  This study looked at firm generated content (FGC) in the form of statements, invites and promotions.  The ROI with this kind of content was clear, but Blue Brownie Creative sees an opportunity here.  If simple FGC such as “Happy Fourth! Don’t Forget to Pick up Your Spirits before You Watch the Fireworks!” increases customer purchases and fosters good customer relationships, the impact of entertaining video will be much higher.  People like content that makes them feel included in something, that gives them a sense of community.  Entertaining video fosters those feeling better than words on a screen.  And these videos are also more likely to get shared.

Until we have more research in this area I will just have to go with my gut and bet that the video content created by BBC will have better reach and customer impact than any written sales statement ever could.  I guess we will have to follow the analytics and publish research of our own. – Jennifer Nickell