C-Level Marketers Trying To Prove The Value Of Social Media Continues To Be A Challenge, Says Study

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 17, 2019

Over the last six months, about 45% of people increased their social media usage — which is highlighting the increased power it holds in society and for marketers needing to obtain data and drive business results. According to the recent Sprout Social 2019 Index: Empower and Elevate, 53% of C-level marketers say that proving the value of social to people outside their department is continuing to be a challenge despite the positive influence of social media across an organization.

The report points out that social media is becoming the most powerful tool for businesses to reach their goals, but marketers are having a hard time proving its worth. About 90% of social marketers agree that investing in social media has a direct impact on their business revenue and 71% agree that they are able to provide helpful insights to teams outside of their departments. However, 53% of C-level marketers say proving the value of social to those outside their department remains a challenge and 31% find it difficult for securing budgets and resources for social media.

“Social media is a channel through which billions of people engage with friends, family, and brands daily, making it the most powerful tool, with the most insights, throughout the entirety of a business,” said Sprout Social CMO Jamie Gilpin in a statement. “However, far too often these insights never leave the marketing department, keeping valuable data siloed from teams that could benefit from it most. Businesses that break down these barriers will fuel more data-driven strategies across product development, sales, and customer service and ultimately, drive growth.”

Social listening is becoming crucial to better understand target audiences. About 43% of all social marketers say a major challenge is identifying and understanding their target audience. To address this issue, marketers are turning to social data: 63% of practitioners believe social listening is becoming more important in the coming year.

While discounts and sales may prompt purchases, entertainment and inspiration gain greater interest on social — which is a total flip from last year. There are more than two-thirds of consumers (67%) said that they will engage with social posts that are entertaining while only 37% said the same about posts that include discounts or sales. This is a shift from the 2018 report where 67% of consumers said that they would likely to engage with discounts and more than 51% said they would share posts promoting sales.

Live video, user-generated content, and Instagram Stories are topping the trend charts for social media in 2019. For example, 45% of consumers said they want to see live video from brands in 2019 followed by 24% wanting more user-generated content and Instagram Stories.

Social media analytics and engagement company Sprout Social put together this study based on a survey of 1,011 consumer respondents and 1,018 marketer respondents about their social goals, challenges, and expectations. And the results of that survey were cross-referenced with more than 1,000 consumers for understanding how brands can elevate their social strategies to better serve their audiences’ needs and overarching business goals.

The report also found that while 71% of all social marketers agree they are able to provide helpful insights to teams outside of their departments, about half (47%) found that developing a strategy that supports their organization’s goals has been the biggest challenge they face. The consumer and marketer surveys were conducted online by Lucid between February 20 and February 25, 2019.

Even though social data provides insights that are needed to understand what is driving the goals of an organization, social marketers need a platform for offering feedback and inputting overall business strategies.