According to the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, summarized by Marketing Charts, 9 in 10 marketers say that social media is important to their business, with the most commonly cited benefits being increased exposure and traffic. Based on a survey of more than 5,000 marketers, the study offers insights into the directions social media marketing will take in the near future.
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Social media does present some difficulties for respondents. For example, respondents were more likely to agree (40%) than disagree (33%) that social media marketing has become more difficult in the past year. While two-thirds analyze their social media activities, just 41% agree that they’re able to measure the ROI of those activities, a figure that hasn’t improved in recent years. But, only 46% agree that their Facebook marketing is effective, with more than one-third unsure.
A quick summary of primary findings from the Social Media Examiner Industry Report, shows that:
- Video has become essential: A significant 60% of marketers use video in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of video
- Live video is hot: A significant 50% of marketers plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 50% want to learn more about live video
- Facebook and YouTube hold the top spots for future plans: At least 63% of marketers plan on increasing their use of these social networks
- Snapchat is on a growth trajectory: Only 5% of marketers are using Snapchat, yet 16% plan on increasing their Snapchat activities and 28% of marketers want to learn more about Snapchat
- Facebook is the most important social network for marketers by a long shot! When asked to select their most important platform, 55% of marketers chose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 18%. Plus, 67% of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook marketing activities
- Many marketers are unsure about their Facebook marketing: A significant 40% of marketers don't know if Facebook traffic has declined in the last 12 months and 35% aren't sure if their Facebook marketing is effective
- Facebook ads dominate: A surprising 86% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads, while only 18% use Twitter ads
- Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master: At least 90% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best ways to engage their audience with social media
Social channel use and importance varies among B2C and B2B marketers. B2B marketers continue to favor LinkedIn to a greater degree than B2C marketers (86% and 58% using, respectively), with B2B marketers also much more likely to be using Slideshare (21% vs. 6%), says the report. B2C marketers are more apt to be using Facebook (96% vs. 88%), Instagram (51% vs. 33%), and Pinterest (45% vs. 34%).
Those differences show up in marketers’ most important platforms, also. About 2 in 3 B2C marketers name Facebook their most important platform, with Twitter trailing distantly in second (11% share). Among B2B marketers, 40% cite LinkedIn as their most important platform, narrowly ahead of Facebook (37%), with Twitter third.
Despite already being the platform with the broadest adoption among marketers, Facebook (67%) emerges as the one for which the largest share will increase their efforts, says the report. Likely a reflection of its status as the most important platform overall, with B2C marketers (70%) being more likely than their B2B counterparts (61%) to see increased Facebook efforts on the horizon.
Beyond Facebook, 63% of respondents plan to increase their use of YouTube, with Twitter (61%) and LinkedIn (61%) close behind in terms of planned increases. Meanwhile, B2B marketers are more likely to be upping their LinkedIn efforts than B2C marketers (76% and 52%, respectively).
Results for other platforms likewise reveal differences in B2C and B2B marketers’ plans:
- More than 6 in 10 B2C marketers look set to increase their Instagram activities, compared to fewer than half (48%) of B2B marketers
- Pinterest is also an avenue for increased efforts more for B2C (47%) than B2B (35%) marketers
- B2B marketers (33%) are more than twice as likely as B2C marketers (15%) to put more effort into SlideShare.
While only 5% of respondents say they’re currently using Snapchat, 16% expect to grow their activities, more than double the proportion in last year’s survey. Also, 28% want to learn more about Snapchat this year, up from 19% last year, evidence of some growth but marketers are not adopting the platform at quite the same rate as youth. When asked how they respond to new social networks, 51% said they are skeptical and wait and see what happens, says the report.
Currently, there is one and only one leader in paid social media: Facebook. In fact, almost 9 in 10 respondents said they regularly use Facebook ads. Only 39%, are using Google ads, then:
- Twitter ads (18%)
- LinkedIn ads (17%)
- Pinterest ads (15%)
Signs point to Facebook maintaining its dominance in social advertising, says the report. However, it is the only platform in which a majority of respondents expect to increase their paid social media use. By comparison, fewer than 4 in 10 plan to make more use of Google ads.
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Turning to social media content types, 74% of marketers identified visual content as their most commonly used, followed by blogging (68%) and videos (60%). Blogging and visual content were essentially tied in terms of the most important content types, though with differences by target audience. Those marketing to businesses name blogging their most important content type, while for B2C marketers visual content is the most important.
When it comes to the near future, though, video gains ground. Almost 3 in 4 plan to increase their use of video content in the near future, just ahead of the 71% planning the same for visual content and leading all content types.
Finally, says the report, while only about 1 in 7 marketers are currently using live video, 39% plan to soon increase their live video efforts, and only 49% say they have no plans to utilize live video.
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For additional information about the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, please visit here.
Courtesy of an article dated June 16, 2016 appearing in MediaPost Publications Research Brief