It is hard to believe that social media has been around for over a decade. Despite this fact, marketing officers still can’t decide whether or not their social media strategies are doing any good. According to a report by Forbes.com, a recent survey of CMOs showed that only 15 percent of the respondents had seen a proven quantitative impact. Almost half (49 percent) couldn’t tell if social media had made any difference in their companies, and two thirds stated that their boards and CEOs are demanding more measurement of actual social media ROI.

To this end, companies are investing more of their marketing budget into analytics. Social media giants like Google and Facebook are sure to be weighing in, as they have the data and the resources to try and crack the code on quantifying social media effectiveness. Meanwhile, companies look at factors such as “likes”, “followers”, Klout or Net Promoter Scores.

While coming up with a reliable ROI model may not be in the immediate future, it’s doubtful that companies will rein in their social media spending. According to the article, companies are expected to more than double spending on social media by 2018. This doesn’t mean that they will simply be throwing money at the industry, however.

Marketing executives are getting smarter about how they use social media. Instead of having to invest in it because everyone else does, they are now beginning to understand something we have been saying over the last ten years. Social media can be one effective component of an overall marketing strategy – but it is not a strategy or game-changer in and of itself.