Marketers are still trying to figure out the social media data puzzle

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Social media usage has grown since the start of the pandemic, providing a plethora of opportunities for marketers who utilize social media data. But what are they using that data for?

More than half (55 percent) of marketers are using social data to understand their target audience, per a report from Sprout Social.


Indeed, when asked to rank the top ways social data informs marketers’ understanding of their customers, the top three included: showing them how customers use their products and services; showing them what customers dislike about their brand; and telling them what customers like about their brand.

Marketers also responded that they’re using the data to develop creative content (48 percent), support other departments (39 percent), analyze trends (32 percent) and assess campaign performance (29 percent).

A potential disconnect was found in an accompanying survey of consumers, which showed that even though about seven in 10 use social media to interact with brands and many expect brands to read and analyze what they post, only 26 percent of marketers say they use social data to foster relationships with customers.

While 88 percent of marketers say their social media strategy positively impacts their bottom line, only one-quarter are reporting results to their manager or team and only 15 percent are using social data to measure return on investment (ROI).

Eighty-six percent of marketers say they are using competitive insights from social media to identify new business opportunities and yet only 10 percent are using that data to inform business decisions.

When it comes to overall organizational views of the value of social media data, fewer than half (47 percent) consider social media a resource that influences strategy for multiple teams while a similar share (46 percent) consider it to be strictly a marketing resource. Only eight percent say social media data is a resource for organization-wide business intelligence.

Asked to describe their cross-team efforts in regard to social, 50 percent of marketers say they maintain occasional communication and collaboration with other teams, while 17 percent operate in complete silos.

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