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What is social media's return on investment?

For chief marketing officers, it's tough to say.

Over the next five years, marketing departments will more than double their spending on social media. How businesses are benefiting is a bit less clear.

A new survey of chief marketing officers from Duke University shows that of the 410 U.S. CMOs surveyed, only 15 percent were able to show "proven quantitative impacts" from their investment in social media. Another 36 percent say they "have a good sense of the qualitative impact, but not the quantitative impact." The rest, 49 percent, says they have not been able to show social media's impact on their business.

Despite the uncertainty, marketers are expected to increase the amount of their budget used for social media from 6.6 percent to 15.8 percent over the next five years.

"Marketing leadership requires that CMOs offer strong evidence that strategic marketing investments are paying off for their firms in the short and long run," said Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey in a blog post. "CMOs will only earn a ‘seat at the table’ if they can demonstrate the effect of their marketing spend."

Not surprising then that spending on marketing analytics will increase, from 5.5 percent to 8.7 percent, over the next three years.

Read more: The CMO Survey

Photo: Flickr/Jason A. Howie

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com