Corporate Eye

Research Finds Social Media Marketing Campaigns Are Too Short-Sighted

facebook iphoneAccording to the “Seriously Social” research report from Warc, social media marketing campaigns are too short, too siloed, and too hard to track. This determination came from a study of 800 marketing campaigns that included a social media tactic, which won significant industry awards. Brands like American Express, Walmart, Virgin Mobile, and AT&T were represented in the study.

The “Seriously Social” report found that social media marketing is being included in more campaigns, but those campaigns typically had lower budgets than campaigns without social elements. Furthermore, the social media part of those campaigns was often focused on short-term goals where results could not be accurately quantified. It’s this inability to calculate true return on investment that the report writers believe will ultimately separate great marketers from their peers.

The report identified several challenges that brand marketers need to address if they want to succeed with social media marketing campaigns in the future. Some of those challenges won’t be new to you. For example, Warc identifies the need to adopt a social media mindset as a significant challenge, but there is no doubt that success in social media marketing requires knowing what the target audience wants and giving it to them. The more realistic challenge is getting executive buy-in, so you can deliver the content that your audience wants, not the content that the powers-that-be think the audience wants. A second challenge identified in the report is the clear social articulation of your brand idea. In other words, let the audience engage with the brand experience on the social web and make it their own. Again, this isn’t a new concept.

More interesting to brand marketers are the second challenges identified in the report. The writers indicate that marketers need to “scale up ambition,” meaning they need to review the problem areas of social media campaigns, which Warc identified as being too focused on the short-term and limiting budgets. Finally, the Warc report warns brand marketers to avoid looking for a specific creative formula for social media campaigns, and instead, focus on learning what your target audience wants and delivering it in the way they’ll respond to. It’s not revolutionary advice, but it’s good advice.

You can subscribe and download the full report from the Warc website and get all of the details.

Image: Miki Yoshihito

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.