Mobile Delivers More ROI than Social

If you had to invest in a mobile marketing campaign or a social media campaign, which would you choose? Let’s use return on investment (ROI) as the primary decision point. We think mobile is the right answer.

Comparing social media to mobile marketing investments is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. This is true even though much of today’s social media runs on mobile phones and tablets (The two are rarely mentioned independently).

However, both require investment from the marketing budget, and are accountable to questions about ROI.

Mobile media campaigns focus on nurturing leads and conversions, from driving in-store traffic to purchasing on a mobile device. Conversely, social media tends to create word of mouth and earned social media mentions. Both WOM and social media messages are valuable, but hard to affix a financial number on.

Mobile marketing and social media have their challenges delivering easily measured ROI. In fact, when you look at CMOs’ challenges with mobile versus social, mobile presents a conundrum about what to measure. Social creates the more classic PR challenge of what does attention achieve for the company. Further, mobile marketing best practices for smartphones and tablets are still getting established, while social media engagement is becoming indoctrinated by marketers.

Beyond the Excuses

Whenever ROI comes up, you seem to find excuses online. All of these reasons for lack of ROI aside, when you delve into case studies, mobile marketing seems to deliver more tangible financial outcomes (like these 16 case studies) than social media.

Local search extension case studies from Google, for example, are often highly powered with direct tangible store outcome. One case study, Roy’s Restaurants, achieved an 800% increase in ROI with a mobile only campaign. Google is so vested in mobile ads it has even created a mobile ROI calculator.

Now social media ROI offers a different story, with most CMOs bewildered, case studies hard to find, and often anecdotal with few numbers attached to them. We know social has qualitative value, but quantitative ROI is much harder to determine.

To be fair, social media can deliver ROI, too. In fact, Social Media ROI author Olivier Blanchard is a friend. He is a staunch advocate of intelligent measurement programs to understand social’s impact. Social ROI is definitely doable, but it takes time and discipline.

Dollar for dollar, mobile is a smarter investment for those seeking an immediate profit. What do you think?