Publisher’s Note: The Social Media Honeymoon Is Over

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal honeymoon is just beginning, but the romantic ride (historically granted to game-changing marketing ideas) for Facebook and other social media is coming to an end. Our Ecommerce survey results confirm that social media is rapidly growing up.

ROI on social media is expected to be much faster than for earlier digital marketing platforms. Digital marketing sophistication, expectations and ROI timetables are coming at us at warp speeds.

Social media is certainly front-and-center in terms of focus and future, but when our survey asked merchants where they would spend imaginary extra marketing dollars, respondents didn’t include social media in their top-three fantasies. Instead, they named the areas of digital marketing that they could measure and from which they could achieve the best ROI—more sophisticated email programs, better data/analytics and search.

Not surprisingly, 38% of respondents are not happy with their company’s social media efforts. This dissatisfaction level was markedly higher than last year, probably because marketers are demanding more accountable results from social media.

What is clear in the results, however, is that merchants believe social media is their next best hope, and they are moving rapidly to experiment. Last year, Google+ and Pinterest were barely mentioned in the survey results; this year, about a third of the respondents are trying each as a way to build business. And Facebook and Twitter, already adopted by many users a year ago, have quickly become “musts” in merchants’ marketing playbooks.

I’m looking forward to watching social media’s evolution and contribution to our industry. Its future offers a lot of measurable opportunity for merchants. And, it offers a wonderful place for dialogue with and improved service for your customers.

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