Adobe Says Impact of Social Media Undervalued by Nearly 100%

At its Adobe Digital Marketing Summit, Adobe released a study that says social media is being undervalued as a driver of Web traffic and revenue.

SALT LAKE CITY€”How do you measure the value of social media in driving Website traffic, engagement and revenue?

Well, Adobe has some ideas on that. For its part, Adobe Systems announced findings from its second Adobe Digital Index report that helps give marketing, e-commerce and retail executives critical digital marketing insights into the value of social media. Indeed, the study indicated that the impact of social media may be undervalued by nearly 100 percent based on the model of measurement being used.

Adobe released the results of the study at its Adobe Digital Marketing Summit 2012 here.

Adobe€™s study evaluated how marketers measure the impact of Website traffic from major social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, YouTube and Yelp. Adobe analyzed more than 1.7 billion visits to more than 225 U.S. companies€™ Websites in the retail, travel and media industries, concluding that marketers significantly underestimate the value of social traffic.

Key findings of the report include:

€¢ The use of last-click attribution, the most common attribution model used by marketers, may cause marketers to undervalue social media€™s Website impact by up to 94 percent.

€¢ First-click attribution models more accurately capture the benefits of social media in engaging customers earlier in the buying process.

€¢ Significant differences in the results of first-click versus last-click attribution data for various social media sites may cause marketers to change how they allocate the budgets across social and other digital channels.

Adobe officials said despite how pervasive social media has become, it isn€™t being recognized for driving Website traffic, engagement and revenue like it should be. However, the solution to giving social media its just due and measuring its true value may lie in making some simple adjustments to how its contributions are captured and measured.

Because social marketing is still so new, best practices for measuring the effectiveness of social efforts are still evolving, said Aseem Chandra, vice president, product marketing, Digital Marketing Business for Adobe. What€™s more, many senior marketers remain skeptical of social media€™s concrete value and its measurability, despite committing an increasing percentage of their budget toward social channels, Adobe said.

Moreover, the explosion in social engagement drives marketers€™ growing enthusiasm for social: 73 percent of respondents to a 2011 Chief Marketer survey said they used social media in marketing campaigns, and 15 percent intended to do so in 2012. At the same time, however, marketers express significant reservations about their ability to measure ROI from social media. In the same survey, 88 percent indicated dissatisfaction with social measurement effectiveness, and 52 percent cited difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing.