Survey: Only 24 percent of SMBs seeing positive ROI on Facebook

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Dozens of small business surveys have shown high levels of Facebook adoption, as well as high demand for social media marketing. However, a new survey from Manta has some interesting “contrarian” findings.

The survey polled more than 4,700 US small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. It found that only 49 percent had a Facebook Page. This is at least 10 points lower than other surveys.

Manta also discovered that only half of those with Pages were seeing a positive ROI. One potential explanation is that almost 75 percent were spending less than two hours a week on Facebook marketing, with most spending less than one hour.

How much time do you spend per week on Facebook marketing for your business?

  • 58 percent — less than 1 hour
  • 16 percent — 1–2 hours
  • 12 percent — 3–5 hours
  • 5 percent — 6–10 hours
  • 10 percent — 10+ hours a week

In addition, most businesses publishing content were posting less than once a week.

How often do you publish new posts on your Facebook Page?

  • 9 percent — once daily
  • 7 percent — 1–3 times per day
  • 6 percent — more than 3 times per day
  • 20 percent — a few times a week
  • 58 percent — a few times a month

The top objectives for these businesses were:

  1. Awareness
  2. New customers
  3. Phone calls (new customers)
  4. Traffic to website (new customers)
  5. Retention

It would be interesting to segment the findings and see whether those updating more frequently and spending more time per week on Facebook marketing were more satisfied. My guess would be yes.

I would infer that these businesses are operating without a plan or understanding what works on Facebook. However, it’s common for small businesses to engage with a marketing channel without much knowledge or expertise and then blame the medium or argue it doesn’t work.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.


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