CMOs Still Report Little Impact From Mobile & Social, But Expect Spending Growth

August 30, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Marketing Budgets | Mobile Phone | Return on Investment | Social Media | Tablet

CMOSurvey-Contribution-Mobile-Social-Company-Performance-Aug2016Chief marketing officers in the US remain bullish on the future of mobile and social media marketing, but they’re not so sure about the current impact on the bottom line. That’s according to the latest edition [pdf] of the biannual CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

The study reveals that on average, CMOs are dedicating 11.7% of their marketing budgets to social media. While that figure has tripled over the past 7 years, growth over the past couple of years has been slower, up from 9.4% of budgets in August 2014.

While CMOs’ actual spending patterns haven’t matched their past projections, they continue to predict big growth in the next few years. For example, they expect social media spending to rise to 14.7% of budgets in the next 12 months, and then to 22.2% of budgets in the next 5 years. B2C companies are the most aggressive in their forecasts (~28% of budgets in the next 5 years), which makes sense given that social media – at least for now – has more limited impact in B2B marketing.

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Meanwhile, mobile enjoys similarly buoyant spending projections, though it’s starting from a smaller base. Currently, CMOs estimate allocating just 3.8% of their marketing budgets to mobile, a figure that’s actually down substantially from the last edition of the survey (5.9%). The 3-year projection for mobile spending is more than double the current share, at 8.3% of budgets, though that again is a far cry from the last survey’s prediction of 14.3% share.

What hasn’t changed is the extent to which social and mobile do – and do not – contribute to overall company performance. On a 7-point scale (where 7 is very high), just 1 in 10 CMOs see social’s contribution as a top-2 box (6 or 7). That’s essentially unchanged from the last survey, released in February. It’s an even poorer diagnosis for mobile, which just 4.4% of CMOs rated as a top-2 box in terms of contribution to company performance. (That’s a slight rise from 2.8% in the previous survey, but remains very modest.)

For the mobile optimists out there, this can be said: it’s tough to expect returns from something that seems to get very little budget attention…

About the Data: The CMO Survey is conducted online twice a year. The latest survey was fielded from July 12 to August 1, 2016. The survey had 427 respondents, of whom 95% were VP level or above.

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