Study: SMBs Continue to Invest in Social Media, Not Sure It’s Working

There’s a significant gap between the importance small businesses place on social media as a marketing channel and their confidence that it’s working. That was reflected in a recent survey from Sensai (n=468 SMBs) that sought to understand “behavior, usage and attitudes around small business marketing.”

Despite the fact that 57% of SMBs reported that social media is one of their most important marketing channels (31% ranked it #1 in importance), 66% say they aren’t confident when it comes to their social media marketing. But why?

Nearly half of respondents (46%) said that ever-changing algorithms are making it impossible for them to succeed at social media marketing. These algorithm changes ultimately end up confusing SMBs and prevent them from reaching their target audiences successfully and efficiently.


There were a number of other challenges that included rising marketing costs, ads and content boosting and being left behind by competitors using AI. There was also a high level of indecision and general confusion, with 39% stating “we know we need to be on social media, but there are too many platforms and confusing choices.”

When respondents using social media were asked whether they were satisfied with its ROI, only 33% said yes. Accordingly, 67% said no or not sure.

Most SMBs lack the resources required to invest in proper social media marketing, making it difficult to determine where to focus and how to execute.

Yet even with numerous obstacles in place, the survey showed that over half of the SMBs surveyed remain optimistic, with 56% stating, “I’m hopeful I can figure it out; I just wish someone would show me the way.” Over half (67%) of SMBs say are even investing roughly the same amount as they did last year, 19% are investing more.

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