Last week, Facebook and Twitter, the two biggest U.S. players in social media, reported earnings that portrayed two companies going in different directions. Since Street Fight’s Enterprise Local Marketers survey showed that over half (53%) of multi-location brands plan to increase their spending on local social media marketing, I thought I’d add some color to the discussion, and perhaps show that Twitter’s got plenty of life left.
Facebook reported 45% quarterly revenue growth, to $9.3 billion, and now has over 2 billion monthly active users. BY contrast, Twitter’s sales shrank 5% to $574 million, it lost $116 million, and showed no monthly user growth from Q1, remaining at 328 million. It did say daily usage was up a bit. Both companies are investing heavily in video, and Facebook, partly because it’s running out of space to show ads in its news feed, is raising prices and looking more to its messaging products. In fact, it’s adding a lot of shopping-friendly features to Messenger, accommodating payments and calls to action.
Consumer surveys suggest social media is pretty influential for shoppers, particularly young ones, although they gravitate to Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Snapchat. Big brands are taking heed. Although packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble some time ago said it was paring back its most highly-targeted Facebook ads, it recently confirmed that it was maintaining its overall Facebook spending. Other surveys confirm Street Fight’s findings that social media is a priority for retailers.
In our own survey of 250 local marketing managers and decision-makers at multi-location brands, Street Fight found that six out of ten said they used Facebook as a provider of local digital marketing or advertising, and four out of ten used Twitter. Over half of the Facebook users also used Twitter, and 88% of the Twitter users also used Facebook. The chart below illustrates how effective those brands deemed their local digital marketing efforts by different sales and marketing objectives. Those that used Twitter were marginally more successful than the overall base of respondents and the Facebook users, and notably so in raising brand awareness. In branding, 28% of the Twitter users said their marketing was very effective, versus 19% overall.
Some other characteristics of the enterprises that used social media for local marketing include the following:
- The Twitter marketers said they were increasing the local portion of their digital spending more aggressively than average and than the Facebook users. Twitter marketers appear to be slightly more sophisticated in their use of marketing tactics such as multi-touch attribution, marketing mix modeling, and real-time location data collection.
- Both groups of social media marketers said their company’s own local or branch sites were more effective than their social media pages. That might indicate that they’re spending money on social media ads to drive traffic to local pages. If it doesn’t, it should.
- Both groups rated traditional TV on par with social media in effectiveness. There should be opportunities to synchronize or integrate social and broadcast campaigns. The Twitter marketers rated addressable TV as the new technology they were most interested in exploring.
- Both groups were more likely to use a local ad agency.
- Like the overall survey respondents, both social media marketers rated attribution and proving marketing ROI as a difficult challenge. However, Twitter marketers said managing multiple sources of data was even trickier. And they were more likely to use a digital dashboard and/or data management platform (DMP) to handle that.
Despite its promise of measurability — especially in comparison with traditional media like print and broadcast — multi-location brands still struggle with marketing efficiency and effectiveness. This column by a Hootsuite exec offers some smart advice on social media metrics. It recommends picking three to five core metrics to measure particular corporate objectives, and creating compound metrics that combine social measures with conversions of various types.
David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.