Marketers globally might be extremely or very confident (64%) in their ability to measure ROI across social media. However, Nielsen's latest study titled "Era of Alignment Future-Focused Strategies” that this wasn't the case for marketers in APAC, of which 55% said they feel the least confident. Nielsen explained that the lack of ROI-proving confidence suggests an opportunity for martech providers to help brands improve their execution and results.
At the same time, while 65% of marketers believe new formats such as podcasts, brand integrations, and sponsorships are greatly important to marketing strategies, only 59% in APAC felt the same. With the marketing scene constantly changing, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out to marketers in Southeast Asia to find out if they felt the same.
Alex Chan, head of marketing, Geneco
The results were certainly surprising as I would think marketers from APAC would have higher confidence given their relatively significant digital spend on social media. Before launching any multi-channel campaign, it is imperative to first establish where each channel falls within the marketing funnel strategy and how they can work cohesively to deliver results. This should be derived from the organisation’s understanding of its own customer journey.
In tandem with customer behaviour, I believe that social media should be primarily driven as a lifestyle engagement rather than a sales channel. Therefore, metrics should be set according to brand-related objectives such as awareness, consideration and engagement. That said, marketers must continue to learn, refine and improve their approach to garner better ROIs over time.
Identifying new formats that reinforce current formats and resonate with the customer profile, is a definite plus if managed strategically. Brand amplification is important for any brand to be seen, heard and taken seriously, and this is one of the key thrusts in the marketing strategy for Geneco. For instance, in our recent sponsorship collaboration with Playmade, our social media engagement achieved over 2,500% as compared to what we usually achieve by ourselves.
Keith Chia, head of group brand and marketing, Great Eastern Singapore
Social media has become a staple in our brand marketing strategies, as it is shown to be more effective in driving upper-funnel goals. Through consumer insights and web analytics, we gained more in-depth understanding of our audience interests and have been able to apply them in our targeting to optimise media efficiency, which has allowed us to improve our CPM media efficiency by over 30% and grow traffic to web by 50% over the last couple of years. Contrasting this with lower-level funnel investments such as SEM, we see similar trends in efficiency gains with increase in CPA of over 40% across the same periods.
We thoroughly measure the ROI of our sponsorship investments to understand the relative impact and contributions to the brand. For example for our Great Eastern Women’s Run, research has shown it is successful in driving over 20% uplift in positive brand association and consideration, making it an effective component of our marketing strategy.
Chan May Ling, CMO, KFC Malaysia
As a marketer, I would sit in the "moderately confident" category in regards to the measurement of social media ROI. Being a mass market QSR player, we are still warranted to have full-funnel media hence we would have to embark on marketing mix models to see which media truly contributes to return on ad spend. Mass marketers would still have to deploy a traditional through-the-line media mix, however, in today’s data-driven world with new tech stacks, running regression studies to measure offline attribution to sales has been equally important for efficiency and ROI measurements.
In the digital landscape, there has to be a balance between impression buys versus acquisition/conversion buys depending on the nature of the brand's business. It has to start from the campaign objective, and what is the industry benchmark that we have to build towards. With today’s multi-channels and multi-screens, brands have to innovate and build content that caters to the respective digital platforms. On top of that, the content has to be distinctive enough to cut through content clutters. Today’s marketing strategies are not linear which requires marketers to think more holistically during campaign planning.
Shanti Jusnita Johari, CMO, Telekom Malaysia
While ROI from social media investments may be more measurable compared to some other platforms, the key is to identify and measure metrics that matter to the organisation and meet the intended business objectives. The true impact of social media activations can come across as intangible and beyond the usual measurements of performance tracking. On the flip side, social media offers high visibility and "engagement" but does not always lead to the desired outcome.
Brands, products and services are all part of a solution for consumers. Getting the brand out there in a meaningful way - be it in the form of podcasts, brand integrations and sponsorships - does help increase the brand affinity amongst users when done right. The key again is not to be swayed by the bright lights and glitter, but to go back and look at the goal and objective of the business and see if there is a fit for the new format to meet those aims at an acceptable cost-benefit level.
Derrick Heng, CMO, Telkomsel
Compared to other paid media, we segregate our social media campaign based on its objective and performance. Social media has good performance in terms of driving transactions for our assets such as websites or mobile apps. We also see that social media could help increase awareness through conversation, both directly by utilising our account or working with the KOLs to create buzz.
Formats such as podcasts, brand integrations, and sponsorships are quite important for our marketing strategy since they offer a variety of content that can attract different audience profile. For instance, podcasts can attract younger audiences, they are very engaging, and audiences must play, listen and can multitask while listening to podcasts. Podcasts can be effective to drive engagement and excitement for a brand such as Telkomsel. However, before we decide to use a new format, it’s crucial for us to understand the objective and role first, we can then drive the right creatives and measure the right KPIs that align with business objectives.
Daniel Hagmeijer, chief customer officer, The Body Shop Indonesia
I don't believe social media is fundamentally different from other channels. I think there are various ways to measure success, especially for paid, but even for organic, it all relies on your overall goals and KPIs. If your problem is awareness, you look at reach for your social channels. In line with that goal, we analyse organic and paid reach to make sure our content has the best effect. Another objective is traffic, since social is used to generate traffic to our eCommerce platforms.
As far as volume and quality go, this is also something we can figure out quickly and easily. There isn't a big difference in how easy it is to measure social media and other types of media. Channel prioritisation happens based on the ROI I get for my goals on this channel compared to how much I get from other channels.
I wouldn't say I have a natural preference for new formats. Again, it's critical to identify what will help solve our most pressing marketing or funnel issues for our target audience. If our audience loves podcasts, I might try them out. But I need statistics — usage, penetration, visitors, brand health — to determine if the channel can help us achieve our goals. If so, let's start agile testing to see how we can make it work.
Andrew Yeoh, head of marketing, TIME dotCom
Broadly, I’d agree that social media is harder to measure than focused digital performance channels such as display, OTT, email, and search. Having said that, it’s different tools along the funnel. I’d argue social media is very much an upper-funnel tool, whereas performance tools are obviously lower funnel. Social media to me is targeted at awareness and engagement, and that’s why we as a brand try to use brand measurement tools such as brand lift studies to measure campaign effectiveness.
What doesn’t really work and convolutes or confuses the social measurement discussion is vanity metrics such as likes, shares and engagements. Since everything is a walled garden now, its pay-to-play and organic reach and engagement is often a pipe dream. However, I still believe that brands can be built on social, and also leverage social as a fine-tuned conversion performance engine. Some of the best brands in this space are Prism+, Oatside, and Circle DNA. Pureplay, natively digital, social brands are leading the way here versus your traditional big established players.
I believe firmly that innovation comes from experimentation, and we set aside 10% of our marketing budgets to do so. Nobody has all the answers, that’s why marketing is so fun and fulfilling.
Kenny Wong, CMO, UEM Sunrise
ROI measurements on social media are by far still a lot more real-time, accurate and reliable compared to other channels, including traditional media such as TV, radio and newspaper, in fact, right down to its different goals and objectives. This can be done by employing the different metrics, such as engagement rates, costs per lead, costs per acquisition, conversion rates etc. While the ROI of traditional media can be measured, there is a lot more subtlety to the medium. Obviously, other digital channels such as display and search ads are highly measurable as well, and exposure and use on these various platforms are largely dependent on one’s marketing objectives and target audience.
While we are deploying our marketing strategies with data-driven decisions, we are always on the lookout for new channels and platforms that can provide us with cost-effective reach to an untapped audience, provided that they are aligned with our brand values and product positioning. Strategic collaborations with strong, like-minded brands or influencers can be beneficial as we leverage each other’s databases to deliver a combined larger audience – this gets us more eyeballs than we can ordinarily reach on our own. Nevertheless, we are selective about diving headfirst into unproven formats as the cost versus ROI factor is a key consideration in our marketing initiatives.
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