Today we flip to the other side of The CMO Survey “coin” from the one we analyzed in Part 2. (New readers of this series who want to start from the beginning can click here.) If Part 2 was about the darkness of boring, old “traditional” advertising, then today’s side of the coin will blind you with its shininess.
One of the questions The CMO Survey asked its many non-CMO participants was this: “What is your social media spending as a percentage of your marketing budget?”
Let’s quickly repeat what we said in Part 1: any survey question about specific line items in a budget, especially if they are not real line items such as “social media spending,” put in front of someone who doesn’t have the actual budget in hand at that precise time will yield an incorrect answer.
And, if The CMO Survey instrument forced the respondent to choose from a set of ranges (e.g., 1 to 5 %, 6 to 10%, etc.), the result is entirely without validity.
What did the survey show? That social media spending will rise from 8.4% of the marketing budget now to 11.5% over the next year. Further, it would reach an astounding 21.6% five years from now.
As we did in Part 2 for the survey respondents’ guesses on traditional advertising, let’s debunk their social media hyper-inflation with some “external” checks.
Let’s start with media firm Group M, who found that in the U.S. the % of all media spend allocated to digital is 23%. Combine that with a Technorati Media’s 2103 Digital influence Report found that social media represented just 10% of the total digital media spend. Or choose the report from Nielsen subsidiary Vizu which found a slightly higher allocation, with 70% of advertisers near 10% - let’s take the total up to 15%, then.
So, if social media represents 15% of 23%, how can the resulting 3.45% come near The CMO Survey’s result of 11.5% ? And that, by the way, is just a media allocation. Remember from our detailed look at a marketing budget here, there are several other line items to consider (and that social media must be 11.5% of, at least).
>>> Staff (and related Occupancy expense)
>>> Database Technology
>>> Agencies (In-house or external)
>>> Campaign Production
>>> Market Research
It is preposterous to believe that direct social media expenses could represent 11.5% of any, let alone all, of the above items. We challenge any marketer on the planet to show us such an accounting.
Until then, The CMO Survey’s result for “percent of marketing budget allocated to social media spending” (that last bit in quotes in case Google ever decides to crawl this site again) is hereby and forthwith declared null. And void.