Social media is the most effective channel for generating sales

Nielsen’s 2022 Global Annual Marketing Report found that social media is the most effective channel for generating sales. However, with 66% of marketers placing brand awareness as their most important business objective, CMOs must find the right balance between short-term wins in sales and long-term success through brand building.

Marketing strategies for future growth must balance upper-funnel brand building efforts with mid- and lower-funnel efforts. ROI may be easier to track with digital channels, it is not the best way to achieve mass brand awareness, says Emma Delserieys, vice-president, customer success Europe, marketing effectiveness, Nielsen.

Social media, online display, video, search and over-the-top services are expected to attract the biggest increase in ad dollar in 2022, further pushing down traditional mass-reach channels like linear TV and radio. However, channels that are great for driving sales may not be ideal for driving awareness. Delserieys warns that it is challenging to quantify the effects of brand building on long-term sales.

There is also a matter of trust. A 2021 Nielsen study found that many of the channels marketers plan to use heavily in 2021 are less trusted by consumers globally. About 36% of consumers don’t trust ads on social media networks or served in search engine results; 38% don’t trust online banner ads.

The exception is endorsements from influencers, trusted by 71% of consumers. In comparison, 78% of consumers trust ads on TV and 74% trust product placement in TV programs.

Delserieys says new customer acquisition requires patience. Another Nielsen study found that 85% of purchases involved brands the customer already tried in the past; 22% of consumers feel worried or nervous about trying a new brand.

By understanding consumers and their behaviours in real-time, brands can better position themselves to hone their messages, allocate ad spend, adjust their media mix and optimise to drive ROI, Delserieys says.

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