Social media marketing has been much in the news over the past year and it’s clear that some companies have achieved great results. With so many marketing choices available and given that all companies have finite budget, resource and time, which digital marketing channels deliver the best results?

In their email marketing industry census, Econsultancy asked companies to rate their return on different marketing channels either excellent or good or average or poor.

  • SEO (organic search) came out top with 32% rating it excellent, 46% good. Just 3% rated it poor
  • Email marketing had similar results with 28% rating it excellent, 47% good & just 4% poor
  • Paid search (PPC) was 3rd with 18% rating it excellent, 41% good & 8% poor
  • Social marketing had mixed results with only 9% rating it excellent, 40% good & 21% poor
  • Traditional offline direct marketing performed less well with just 4% rating it excellent, 34% good & 22% poor
  • Mobile marketing performed least well with 2% excellent, 20% good & 38% poor

The best results for your business will depend on a range of criteria such as your specific objectives, budget available, target audience, your product or service but generally if marketing effectiveness is important, then SEO, email marketing and PPC should be core activities.

Most companies are experimenting with social media to increase their brand awareness or enhance their relationship rather than generate sales although Dell is a notable exception having sold more than $6.5 million through its Twitter links.

It’s likely that both social media marketing and mobile will become much more important over the next few years but for now, these newer areas could form part of a test budget (if available) to experiment with vs your core activities.