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Our friends at Social Media Examiner have released their annual survey on the state of the social media marketing industry, and as always, it provides some fascinating looks into how social media marketers are thinking about social media trends and techniques.
You should download and read the entire report — it’s free — and you can get a copy here. Meanwhile, these are the key statistics that stood out for me in this 2019 edition of the Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
First, a couple notes about methodology. This survey was completed by 4,859 people who are in the Social Media Examiner database. Thus, this is a self-selected recipient pool, not a random sample. Also, while everyone involved is active in social media, 6 out of 10 participants do not consider social media to be their full-time position. Lastly, while all sizes of companies are represented in the respondents, the data definitely skews toward small business, with 60% of participants working in organizations with 10 or fewer people.
That said, here are 20 social media statistics and highlights from the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Social Media Marketers Are More Bullish About Social Media in 2019
This one frankly surprised me. With all the gnashing of teeth about change, and privacy, and organic reach declines, participants in this survey are more enthusiastic about the benefits of social media than they were in 2018.
Across all 8 of the queried benefits of social media marketing, respondents indicated those benefits have improved. For example, 93% of survey takers say that social media has helped them increase exposure. This compares to 87% in 2018.
In 2019, 72% say social media has helped them increase sales, versus 53% in 2018. That’s a big jump in one year!
The next biggest leap forward was “social media has increased our thought leadership.” 57% agree in 2019 vs. 46% in 2018.
Social Media Marketers Love the Big 5 Channels
When asked which social media platforms they use, more than half of the respondents say they participate in YouTube (54%), Linkedin (58%), Twitter (59%), Instagram (73%), and Facebook (94%).
It’s perhaps not a shock that social media marketers are active in many social media channels (see the general bullishness above). However, compared to how the American adult population as a whole actually uses social media, these marketers’ embrace is quite different.
Based on this data from Social Media Examiner and Edison Research, respectively, I would argue (with a caveat that these are dissimilar data sets in many ways) that social media marketers are relying on Twitter too much, and Pinterest and Snapchat too little.
Among Americans 12 and older, Twitter is the sixth most-popular social platform. But among social media marketers, it’s third. Conversely, Americans at-large are more likely to use Pinterest than are social media marketers. And Americans overall are are FIVE TIMES more likely to use Snapchat than are social media marketers. That is fascinating.
Among Americans 12 and older, Twitter is the sixth most-popular social platform. But among social media marketers, it’s third. Click To Tweet
Americans overall are are 5X more likely to use Snapchat than are social media marketers. Click To Tweet
Social Media Marketers Still LOVE Twitter
The data above that shows that 59% of social media marketers are using Twitter compared to 19% of the overall population, Further, the Social Media Examiner report says that “35% of social media marketers plan to INCREASE their organic activity on Twitter in 2019.” This is despite the fact that Twitter’s usage overall has fallen from 23% of the US population to 19% in two years.
59% of social media marketers are using Twitter compared to 19% of the overall population. Click To Tweet
35% of social media marketers plan to INCREASE their organic activity on Twitter in 2019. Click To Tweet
Perhaps this is because social media marketers themselves are often very active on Twitter and interact with one another there?
Facebook Dominates as Most Important Social Platform for Social Media Marketers
While Twitter is still beloved and Snapchat is ignored, most social media marketers say Facebook is still the lead sled dog. In fact, 61% say that Facebook is the most important social platform. Mathematically, I understand why that’s the case — Facebook still has the most users overall. But from a momentum standpoint, Instagram is clearly the stronger horse.
In fact, I predicted recently that Instagram will actually overtake Facebook in usage eventually, and provided 9 reasons why.
Who is Afraid of Organic Reach? Not Me!
In the Social Media Examiner report, 51% of participants say they plan to increase organic Facebook posting and cadence in 2019. This is down from 62% who said the same last year, but more than half of social media marketers gearing up to boost their Facebook organic activities seems a little off-target given Facebook’s own admission that news feed will be de-prioritized by the end of the year.
I wrote all about Facebook’s actual master plan recently.
More Social Media Marketers Need to Embrace Messaging
Facebook has said that their future is privacy, and messaging. They are combing WhatsApp, Messenger, and the messaging components of Instagram into an uber-app (like WeChat) aimed to dominate communications and commerce. The real enemies for them in this initiative are email and PayPal.
Further, consumers mostly love messaging.
Yet, just 39% of social media marketers plan to increase Facebook Messenger bot usage this year, and that’s actually DOWN from 2018. Plus, more than half of survey respondents say they have NO PLANS to use Facebook Messenger bot technology. They need to change their minds, in my estimation.
Facebook Messenger Support is Similar for Organic and Paid
Interestingly, the story is a little different when looking specifically at paid social media advertising. When asked whether they plan to increase spending on Facebook Messenger ads, 33% of social media marketers surveyed said “yes.” My interpretation here is that the people who are into Facebook Messenger within the social media marketing community (30-40% of the whole) are ALL IN on it, organic + paid.
Facebook Ads More Popular Than Facebook Organic
That comparison is interesting to examine overall, actually. Looking at the propensity of social media marketers to increase their organic activities on a channel vs. their paid activities on that same channel speaks volumes about their level of commitment, and belief in the ads infrastructure in each venue.
For example, as mentioned above 35% of the participants in this survey say they plan to increase organic posting on Twitter, compared to 21% who say they plan to increase Twitter ads.
69% plan to increase organic Instagram, compared to 55% Instagram ads.
And Facebook is actually more popular on the paid side, with 51% planning to increase organic efforts, and 59% plotting an increase in Facebook ads participation.
I’m so glad that Social Media Examiner invests in this thorough industry survey every year. As always, it provides terrific insights into what social media marketers value, what they’re planning, and why. And this year, in particular, I found it interesting how much some of those plans diverge with what data about the users of social media are doing overall.
Definitely take the time to download and read the entire report. I’m certain you’ll find other insights of your own.