5 Unpublished Stats on the Future of Social Media Marketing

by Jason Keath on May 05, 2016
social media software ROI 19 of 20

19 out of 20 social media software users report a positive ROI

Hello data geeks. We’ve got some new stats for you. You may feel an urge to immediately add them to your next powerpoint. Don’t fight it.

At Social Fresh we wanted to know more about where digital marketers like you are seeing success. Which social networks, content types, and social ad platforms are providing the best ROI? And, equally important, how are social media marketers investing their time and budget?

We just published the first annual Future of Social Media Marketing Report, with report partners Firebrand Group and Simply Measured,  to help answer these questions and many others.

Below are a few sample stats from the report. Download the report here for more awesomely geeky data points and insights.

1. More social marketers are choosing Instagram over Twitter for future investment

social network investment instagram 2016

42% of social marketers plan to invest significantly in Instagram over the next year.

Facebook is still the #1 social network for marketers when it comes to investing money and resources. 76% of digital marketers we surveyed have earmarked a majority of their budget for Facebook.

However, Instagram came in second, with 42% of digital marketers surveyed selecting the mobile-first image network.

We also asked which social networks are giving social marketers are the biggest ROI today. Facebook was more dominate here (96%), Twitter was second (64%) and Instagram third (40%).


I love comparing these two questions. It’s clear that while Twitter is a strong option for many social marketers today, others are now looking to Instagram over the next year as a big opportunity (even more so than Twitter).

2. Social Marketers will continue to increase the time and resources they spend on creating content

content development time spent social marketers

Creating content is the most time-intensive task for social media teams, taking up 18.5% of the day.

When we asked social teams what percentage of their day is spent on social marketing tasks, content development was the number one answer, taking up 18.5% of social media teams’ time and resources. This 18.5% is only indicative of time spent on creating the content. This stat does not include the time a team invests in strategy, publishing, and promotion of that content.

Marketing pro and analyst Rebecca Lieb summed it up well when she said, “Content is the atomic particle of all marketing.” (source)

Content is becoming increasingly important for digital marketing, especially for social media teams. Take a close look at how you are spending time and resources on content. It will be the biggest opportunity for improving your digital marketing efforts moving forward.

BONUS STAT: Amongst the social media teams who plan to hire new roles over the next year, 70% plan to hire content-focused roles (content marketing or content development), while only 61% are planning to hire a social media manager.

3. Out of all the tasks (content creation, publishing, strategy etc.), social marketers are most likely to outsource their social advertising

social advertising outsourced stat

33% of social media teams are outsourcing all or part of their social advertising.

The vast majority of social marketers are doing some type of social advertising, 90% according to our survey. This is across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat.

However, that task is the most likely to be outsourced, compared to all the social media tasks we surveyed. Only 57% of social marketers, at brands, are doing all their social advertising in house.

social media team tasks outsourcing

17% are outsourcing their social ads completely, while 33% are getting at least some agency support for the task.

Social advertising gets outsourced for a few reasons. What works in social advertising and what doesn’t can change rapidly. Many social media teams are also small and likely do not do enough social advertising to hire a full time person for this role. And because social advertising is such a specialty task, it requires an expert to get the best results.

Social advertising will become an increasingly essential part of any social media or content marketing program. Many teams are aware of this already.

4. Video content continues to become more and more important for social marketing teams

video content by social media teams stat

46% of social media teams are creating video content at least once a month.

46% of social media marketing teams are creating video content at least once a month. It was the third most popular answer when we asked social marketers what content they were creating at least once a month. Creating images was #1 (79%) and creating blog posts was #2 (58%).

That’s bigger than I would have guessed before this report. Snapchat and Livestreaming apps may be contributing to that number. Additionally, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all placing a higher focus on video content. That doesn’t hurt either.

“Invest in video because the top 3 social networks for ROI [Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram] are all favoring videos in their feeds.” — Sue Funke, TV Land

BONUS STAT: Video was the second most popular answer when we asked which single content type provided the best ROI, with 20% singling out video. The most popular answer for content ROI were image posts at 40%.

5. The biggest social media software need for social marketers is monitoring and analytics software

social media intelligence software

52% of social marketers looking for new software are in the market for social listening or analytics software.

Amongst social marketers actively looking for new software, the two most popular types included monitoring/listening solutions (28%) and analytics solutions (24%).

Together I would label these as social intelligence solutions. And they account for over half of those seeking out new social software, or 52%.

social media software actively looking

“Social media is changing so quickly and it is important to constantly be having conversations about what the overall strategy for the brand is. Listen more. The beauty of social media is that you have direct access to your customers/audience and not enough brands take advantage of this.” — Rachel Sacks-Hoppenfeld, Anheuser-Busch Inbev

Get The Report

Check out more stats like this by downloading the Future of Social Media Marketing Report. It also includes tons of analysis and bonus insights from industry experts. You can download a FREE version of the report here or you can grab a copy of the full premium report here.

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • Great Data Jason!

    I’m definitely part of #4 and investing more this quarter in Video for our startup.

    Surprised to see though Instagram at number 2 for investments compared to Twitter, even though Twitter came in as the second best for ROI. Loved also that last stat on Social Listening demand continuing ~ Mike

  • Jehanne Oostra

    Great article! Thanks for sharing your insights with us. However, I was wondering how do you see the role of Polyvore in the future of Social Media Marketing?

  • Great question Jehanne. Polyvore has been around for a while now. Older than Pinterest or Snapchat. I remember using it for clients back in 2008/2009. If your business is fashion/retail/accessories – especially if you hav ecommerce sales options – I think it is a great platform to test. I have not checked out their traffic and engagement lately, but my goal would probably be an influencer marketing focus on their platform in order to grow a brand account.

  • Thanks @Mike. Another way to look at the Instagram investment numbers is that Twitter is a bit more saturated with businesses and marketing efforts than the younger Instagram. My guess is, even if Twitter has a better ROI for most, some businesses might be topping out with their Twitter success and/or starting to see better engagement/opportunity on Twitter moving forward. We talk about this a little in the full report.

    A couple other points:
    1. This future investment growth for Instagram is also following closely with Twitter and Instagram’s user growth Twitter has flatlined, while Instagram’s growth continues at a healthy pace (although not as vertical as their early growth).

    2. We also see Instagram ad investment doing really well in the report, especially since it has only been open to the public for 6 months or so. It’s on track to beat out Twitter ads by the end of the year by my estimates.

  • I look forward to reading the detailed report. I’d be curious to see how many actual SMB’s are driving positive ROI from their Ad Dollar spend on Instagram vs. let’s say Facebook. What they’re showing as a conversion seems a little mixed. Ad wise it may beat out Twitter, but I still think Twitter offer huge upsides inside of advanced search for those that take the time to listen & actively engage.

    Great report ~ Mike

  • Thanks Mike. I’d agree that Twitter has a more open listening platform and provides huge value in that respect. I am still a huge Twitter fan. Just reporting the stats =)

  • that’s cool

  • Rakesh Sankar

    This is so awesome. Thanks for sharing all this info, it’s nice to have such a case of success with real numbers :-)

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  • Awesome post Jason.
    Frank :)

  • Amazing post Jason. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Aroos

    Awesome stats.

    Instagram in the middle east is more common than FB especially since instagram is still not blocked such as FB and Twitter.

  • Awesome stats. Instagram in the average east is added accepted than FB abnormally back instagram is still not blocked such as FB and Twitter.

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  • Hi Jason,
    Amazing and Facts stats about Social Media Marketing. Thanks and keep doing

  • Great info Jason!