Paid Social Media Ads on the Rise, but Lack Metrics

Posted on March 28, 2013

Paid Social MediaAccording to the latest edition of the Paid Social Media Advertising Report, conducted by Vizu and released by Nielsen, advertisers are unconvinced about the effectiveness of paid social media ads, mainly due to the lack of proper metrics with which to measure their effectiveness.

Results show that advertisers are increasingly viewing paid social media as an integrated tool, one that is meant to be used in conjunction with other media, be it online or offline. Of the advertisers surveyed, 66 percent integrate paid social ads into their online marketing campaigns, while 51 percent say they integrate them into offline marketing efforts.

Breaking that down further, 83 percent of advertisers stated that they use paid social media ads in conjunction with online display campaigns, while 46 percent say that they use the same with online video marketing efforts. 40 percent of advertisers report using social media ads with mobile advertising operations.

Paid social media ads are currently being used to support branding efforts, with respondents stating that they use them for branding efforts by a 45 percent margin, with 16 percent of those respondents using them in direct-response related campaigns. As a result, advertisers are increasingly interested in using traditional offline metrics alongside newer, more relevant online metrics, but very few media sellers can actually provide those metrics.

Currently, metrics like “pins”, “likes”, and click-throughs are being used to measure the effectiveness of paid social media ads. Many advertisers feel, however, that measuring the number of sales generated, as well as brand lift, are more relevant metrics.

According to Jeff Smith, senior vice president for product leadership for advertising effectiveness at Nielsen, “… marketers are beginning to look for true measures of return on investment to justify their investment,” and that there is, “there is real demand for metrics that are consistent with what they’ve used for other media, such as brand lift and sales lift.”

This data was collected by surveying over 500 digital marketing and media firms in the fall of last year.