Marketers dedicating more resources to social media marketing this year should be pleased to learn that new data suggests they’ll be seeing returns on their social investments. According to WebMarketing123’s State of Digital Marketing report, B2C and B2B companies are winning leads and sales across social networks.

The study found that Facebook is the overall leader, generating leads for 67 percent of B2C companies and 39 percent of B2B brands. Moreover, it contributes to sales for 39 pecent of B2C companies and 19 percent of B2C companies.Perhaps surprisingly, Facebook trailed LinkedIn by only a small margin with respect to B2B results. The network for professionals came out on top in the business-to-business social marketing space, producing leads for 44 percent and sales for 23 percent. It did not perform as well in the B2C space, but still outranked Google+ and Pinterest in both consumer-facing and business-facing sectors.

WebMarketing 123 social media sales

While many companies have reported that Google+ marketing can drive SEO success, not many are making money from the network itself. Only 7 percent of B2B respondents said Google’s social network drives leads, and just 15 percent of B2C marketers win leads from G+. Moreover, only 3 percent and 7 percent of B2B and B2C marketers, respectively, say Google+ generates sales for their brands. Pinterest results were even lower.

Meanwhile Twitter marketing is showing its worth for 30 percent of B2Bs and 43 percent of B2C companies that win leads on the microblogging site.  Fourteen percent of B2B companies and 19 percent of B2C companies also report making sales from Twitter traffic.

No matter the networks driving results for an individual brand, the survey found that outsourcing campaigns to social marketing experts improves success. The likelihood that respondents reported they were „highly satisfied“ with their social marketing metrics more than doubled among companies that have agencies running their campaigns for them compared to those that manage social in house. Outsourcing social is becoming a common practice, as one in five B2B brands work with agencies and nearly one-third of B2C companies (31 percent) outsource campaigns.

Satisfaction with outsourced social marketing results may have something to do with the fact that qualified agencies provide analytics and reporting, while in-house teams seem to struggle with defining and reporting on social metrics – especially in the B2B realm. WebMarketing 123 reported that 20 percent of B2C respondents don’t know if they’re generating leads through their social efforts, and 40 percent can’t say whether they can attribute sales to social marketing.

Developing advanced social metrics and reporting practices is a necessity for many brands this year. As Brafton has previously reported, a study from  PulsePoint found 28 percent of companies don’t measure social marketing. Perhaps worse, 27 percent rely on faulty metrics, namely „intuition.“