Adobe: Social media impact undervalued by nearly 100 percent

Adobe finds that most digital marketers are quick to add social media into the mix, but they don't understand the value just yet.

Marketers are underestimating the value and impact that social media can have for a website by up to 94 percent, according to Adobe's latest Digital Index report.

That finding is based on the hypothesis that most marketers rely on using last-click attribution as the primary model for measuring the value of social media.

However, Adobe researchers posited that first-click attribution models better capture the benefits of social media in engaging customers earlier in the buying process.

The biggest problem with using a last-click model, according to Adobe, is that by ignoring the value of earlier interactions, last-click attribution gives disproportionate credit to the marketing channels that customers use late in the purchase process. That would undervalue the role of other channels in building awareness and relationships between customers and brands.

Aseem Chandra, vice president of product and industry marketing within Adobe's Digital Marketing Business unit, argued in the report that "as an industry, digital marketers have been quick to add social media to the marketing mix, but have perhaps not considered new and better ways to measure this complex channel."

Instead, as pointed out in the study, marketers tend to default to traditional direct measurement models. Chandra advised that a "better measurement of social marketing will lead to better ROI.”

For reference, Adobe analyzed more than 1.7 billion visits to more than 225 U.S. companies’ websites in the retail, travel and media industries for this study. The Digital Index report examined how marketers measure the impact of website traffic from major social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and Yelp.