December 6th, 2016 by Bob Bly
According to Duke University’s School of Business’s recent CMO
survey, 44.1% of marketers said they are unable to show the
impact of social media.
Another 35.6% say there is a quantitative impact but cannot
measure hard numbers for sales ROI and other key metrics.
Bottom line: about 8 out 10 marketers surveyed either haven’t
realized or can’t prove the ROI they expected from social media,
dampening their desire to invest more time and money in the channel.
Whenever I share this, I always get responses from people who
tell me they can measure social ROI and are crushing it on
But 99 times out of 100, it turns out that they are talking about
boosted posts and paid advertising on Facebook.
One can argue — and I am that one — that FB ads are not really
“social media” or “social marketing.”
They are online advertising, same as pay-per-click ads on Google
or Bing, banner ads on web sites, and ads in e-zines.
When I question whether social media works or produces a decent
ROTI (return on time invested), I am not questioning the efficacy
of FB paid ads — because I already know they can work like
What I’m questioning is whether endless blabbing and chatter on
Facebook, Snapchat, and other social networks generates a good
Well, the Duke survey says 8 out of 10 CMOs cannot confirm a
positive ROI from their social media.
Now, whenever I say this, someone will blast me, pointing out
that Grant Cardone is “crushing it” on Snapchat and Gary
Vaynerchuk is doing likewise on multiple social networks — as if
this invalidates the Duke survey findings.
Well, it doesn’t. Because there are exceptions to everything, and
in social media ROI, Grant and Gary are two of a small minority
who are in fact making money with social.
But for the majority of marketers, social media remains an
unproven medium that often sucks time and funds that would be
better spent on other activities — such as e-mail marketing and
Yes, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, but I contend social
marketing has a poor ROTI — return on time invested. And since
time is so precious, blabbing on Snapchat or tweeting half a
dozen times a day without generating hard dollar revenues online
is to me a waste.