Are B2B Marketers Losing Patience With Their Social Media Efforts?

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A new report from Econsultancy and Adobe raises questions about the role social media marketing will in 2013. Just don’t call it a backlash – at least not yet.

First, the good news: According to the study, content marketing continues to gain importance in the digital marketing mix. It’s cited as the top priority by 39% of the marketers surveyed, putting it into a first-place tie with optimizing conversion rates.

(The study includes both B2B and B2C marketers; about 32% of the respondents focus more on B2B, while another 22% work in both fields.)

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Social media engagement is near the top of the priority list for 38% of the respondents. That’s solid, although it’s also essentially unchanged from last year.

Look at the bottom of this chart, however, and you’ll see the real surprise: Interest in social media analytics has plunged over the past 12 months.

Emarketer speculates that this is because marketers “are having trouble developing effective methods of measuring return on investment” on social media. That’s a perplexing stance, since social media analytics are now big business (just ask Salesforce).

Are the existing analytics tools really so bad that marketers are fleeing them in droves? Or are the results so disappointing that marketers are giving up and putting social media back into the “soft ROI” bucket?

Here’s another piece of the puzzle: While marketers still cite social media as a high priority, the number that describe it as an “exciting” digital opportunity fell by more than 30% since last year.

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At the same time, 30% now say that content marketing is one of the most exciting opportunities, and the number that point to marketing automation as both a high priority and an exciting opportunity has also grown.

There’s one more interesting data point here: Interest in video marketing has plummeted over the past 12 months. That’s surprising, and I would love to know more about why so many marketers seem to be disillusioned with video. If you have any thoughts about this or the other trends in this report, feel free to share them below.

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