- Ninety percent of social marketers said investing in social media has a direct effect on revenue and 71% said they provide helpful insights to teams outside of their departments, per a survey that social media marketing platform Sprout Social shared with Mobile Marketer. However, 53% of C-level marketers struggle to prove the value of social media outside of their departments, with 31% struggling to secure a budget for it.
- Eighty-nine percent of marketers use Facebook for brand marketing, ahead of Instagram (65%), Twitter (50%), YouTube (49%), Messenger (44%), LinkedIn (38%), Snapchat (28%) and Pinterest (28%). Eighty-three percent of consumers are on Facebook, and 66% said they "like" or "follow" a brand profile on the social network.
- Live video, user-generated content and Instagram Stories are the top social trends this year, marketers said. Forty-five percent of consumers said they want to see live video from brands this year, followed by 24% who want more user-generated content and Instagram Stories. Sprout's research is based on an online survey of 1,011 consumers and 1,018 marketers by market researcher Lucid.
Despite the popularity and efficacy of social media to drive revenue, Sprout's survey found that C-level marketers still struggle to prove the value of social media and secure budgets from their organizations. The survey demonstrates that there is room for marketers to improve their social media strategies by better understanding social media platforms and trends.
The survey found that Facebook, the biggest social network with 2.38 billion users worldwide, is still the dominant social marketing platform overall, but is less popular among younger generations. Facebook, for example, is the primary platform for Generation X (ages 40 to 54) to "like" or "follow" brands (77%), while Generation Z (ages 4 to 24) prefers Instagram (69%), the survey found.
Marketers and consumers noted the significance of live video to a brand's social strategy. Forty-two percent of social marketers already have a strategy for Facebook Live, and 31% of social marketers plan to build strategies for Facebook Video and Instagram Live. However, just 24% of marketers intend to create a strategy for YouTube Live, missing an opportunity to connect with younger consumers like Generation Z, Sprout said.
Sprout Social's results confirm several other surveys that found that Instagram Stories are gaining recognition among marketers. Almost half (48%) of marketers surveyed said Instagram Stories will become more important this year, Sprout found. That finding confirms Facebook's reported results for the first three months of the year. Stories Ads grew their usage by 50% to 3 million advertisers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in Q1 2019 from 2 million in the prior quarter, the company reported. The company began pushing Stories Ads last year to reignite ad growth.
Social media users this year are most likely to engage with social posts that are entertaining, unlike last year, when discounts and sales drove engagement, the survey found. More than two-thirds of consumers (67%) said they engage with social posts that are entertaining, while only 37% said the same about posts that included discounts or sales. Last year, 67% of consumers said they were most likely to engage with discounts and more than half (51%) said they would share posts promoting sales. Sprout cited Casper, the direct-to-consumer mattress brand, as an example of how a brand creates content that's engaging to social media users. The brand positioned itself as an authority on sleep, and generated $100 million in sales during its first year, per Wired.
Additionally, the survey found that social listening, the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online, has become more important in understanding target audiences. Almost two-thirds (63%) of marketers said social listening will become more important in the coming year, the survey found. Food-delivery service Grubhub is an example of a brand that used social listening to learn more about customers and use data from social media to inform product innovation. Grubhub saw that customers were Tweeting about having their Taco Bell delivered, leading the company to add the Mexican-food chain to its service and boost sales, per PRDaily.