SOURCE: Prospero Technologies

October 16, 2007 08:22 ET

Prospero Survey Reveals 88 Percent of Businesses Expected to Increase Social Media Spending in 2008

ROI Not Currently Top Measure for Social Media Success

LITTLETON, MA--(Marketwire - October 16, 2007) - The majority of web marketers are bullish on social media spending, according to a recent survey of over 50 businesses and organizations conducted by Prospero Technologies, LLC (www.prospero.com), a provider of social media applications for leading brands. According to Prospero's 2007 Social Media Survey, 59 percent of respondents reported that social media performance in 2007 met or exceeded their marketing objectives, boosting future spending expectations -- with 31 percent planning to spend significantly more on social media applications in 2008.

Survey participants were from leading brand organizations from a wide variety of industries, including Media, Education, Financial Services, Health, and Sports and Gaming.

Asked about social media return on investment (ROI), 35 percent reported positive ROI and 41 percent said that ROI was "unknown." Responses to questions about how web marketers measure ROI reveal that direct sales revenue is not a top measure for determining social media success. Respondents said that total number of site visitors (17 percent) was the most important criterion for assessing social media performance. Total number of page views and number of subscribes / community members (15 percent respectively) were next, followed closely by length of visit on the site (14 percent).

"The majority of respondents see engagement with their brand as the most important measure of social media success, while more concrete ROI measures such as sales and new business leads carry less weight," said Rusty Williams, co-founder and vice president of Prospero Technologies. "But other findings show that businesses are becoming more sophisticated in creating new revenue sources through social media, with 12 percent citing ad revenue and nine percent reporting sponsorships as important measures for success."

Current social media challenges and trends -- 2008 priorities

Prospero's survey also revealed web marketer perspectives on current social media challenges. Integrating community-generated content with the rest of the web site and understanding best practices for new / evolving technologies were rated the top challenges, followed closely by keeping up with new social media technology advances. Regarding the types of social media applications currently in use, respondents said blogs (13 percent) and discussion boards (12 percent) topped the list. Looking ahead to 2008, discussion boards and blogs still top the list for web and brand marketers (10 percent respectively), followed closely by ratings and reviews (eight percent) and profiles / social networking applications (also eight percent).

When asked about their objectives for using widgets, respondents identified helping audiences promote conversations / interest on social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook (32 percent) and improving the speed and efficiency for implementing technologies on their site (29 percent) as the top uses.

Regarding OpenID and Microformat initiatives, 14 percent said they fully support open standards and 22 percent reported that they would support open standards provided there were no security issues. Forty-three percent of respondents said that they had not yet reviewed open standard initiatives.

Prospero's 2007 Social Media survey was conducted online in September 2007, gathering responses from over 50 businesses currently using social media applications, including organizations from the following industries: Broadcast Media, eCommerce and eCRM, Education, Financial Services, Health, Manufacturing, Online Media, Print Media - Magazines and Books, Print Media - Newspapers, Professional Associations, Sports and Gaming.

About Prospero Technologies

Prospero Technologies offers social media solutions that enable leading brands to integrate interactive features throughout their sites. This interaction provides insight and builds more profitable relationships. Prospero's CommunityCM platform delivers the widest range of social media applications, the most powerful moderation tools and the most open, flexible widgets and APIs. Prospero's hosted community solutions enable organizations to easily, quickly and cost effectively develop custom-branded applications such as message boards, blogs, live chat, event chat, wikis, and polls to encourage site visitors to participate, rate, review, comment and submit their own content. These applications are all managed using a single, intuitive platform. The company has a proven track record with leading brands such as ABC, About.com, Amazon, BabyCenter, BusinessWeek, CBS.com, Disney, ESPN, FOX, iVillage, MLB.com, and NASCAR. For additional information, visit www.prospero.com or call 978.698.6599.

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