So social networks are here to stay says a new report from TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony out of the US. They even say it is a facet of the marcomms mix that needs to be overseen by senior execs in a specialised manner.
"In the survey of 71 marketing professionals in the U.S., Canada, France and the U.K., not even one respondent saw social media as a passing fad. Approximately a fifth (21.1 percent) said it was worth monitoring at the staff level but "should not absorb significant resources," while nearly half (49.3 percent) said it should be monitored at the executive level and receive significant resources. Another 29.6 percent called it a "revolutionary new opportunity that must be grasped with a sense of urgency." The U.S. had a higher concentration of exuberance, with 45 percent of respondents calling social media revolutionary. " - http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3628607
Well, what does this mean?
It appears the majority consider social media if not essential, revolutionary to a point of urgency.
So what is pushing their buttons?
"Monitoring social media activity for brand and category-related sentiments ranked highest among marketers' priorities for the channel and scored considerably higher than brand awareness and customer loyalty initiatives. Whereas roughly 20 percent said it offered the greatest potential for either increasing loyalty or building awareness, 36.6 percent described it as ideal for "gaining consumer insights."
The first point is really no different to offline media monitoring ... checking media to ensure you are on top of market sentiment and being able to respond accordingly. Utilising it for brand awareness and loyalty doesn't score as well (which would be troubling for some), yet over a third consider it ideal for gaining consumer insights (which is an area neither of the big players have really tapped into which could be a ridiculously large goldmine if executed correctly).
Will we see the major social utilities look to gain insights from consumers and actively monetise these beyond what straight targeting? Will we see social networks and utilities partner with brands (ie really partner, not just sell inventory and some production) to allow them to truly understand their audience and connect with them in a meaningful way?
Lets not forget these are o/s stats - I would wonder what the data would look like locally. Still, promising news for the social media gang.