By Ben Hollom

Google + is set to become a major b2b social platform by 2014, results from a new survey by B2B Marketing have suggested. According to the latest Social Media Benchmarking Report, Google´s social networking site is predicted to increase its importance for b2b communication almost threefold. While 9% of respondents state that it is the most useful channel at present, 29% believe it will become the key social channel in twelve months time.

Currently, the most popular b2b social platform is Twitter, the survey showed. However, many marketers believe that over the next year, there will be a shift towards more content-focused platforms and a move away from mainstream social media, as far as b2b goes.

When asked about the main reasons for using social sites for b2b marketing, respondents list increasing traffic to their websites as the key purpose, followed by brand building and positioning and strengthening though leadership.

The biggest challenge of social marketing is ROI measurement, with 44% of respondents claiming that they measure it rarely or never, while only 1% state that they have a complete picture of their ROI from social media activity. Meanwhile almost one in ten marketers cannot give an answer because they simply claim they ´don´t know´. The most common metric that marketers use are website traffic and the number of followers, as well as content downloads and lead generated, the poll found.