The State of Social Marketing Survey 2016 – 7 Key Takeaways

Simply Measured State of Social Marketing Report 2016 Key Takeaways by Joanne Sweeney-Burke

Simply Measured has released the 2016 results of their State of Social Marketing survey which always offers valuable insights into the social marketing industry. The 46-page report is quite a read so I decided to read it, analyze it and give you my key takeaways.

Overall, I think the report shows that social marketing has matured and marketers are more inclined to be strategic users rather than social experimenters. The team at Simply Measured interviewed over 350 marketers for the purposes of this study.

Get the report here

It is really welcome to see social marketing being taken seriously by CMOs and it being given the recognition it deserves. For too long social media was the poor relation of other marketing tactics such as public relations, traditional advertising and sponsorship. However as Simply Measured found out social media is now seen as “indispensable.”

Social media is now an important marketing channel, recognized by CMOs as an indispensable way to interact with customers and shoppers. In many organizations, social is becoming integrated closely with many other marketing activities. While it still has plenty of room to grow, social’s share of attention, budget, and staffing needs are only continuing to grow. Social media is integrating tighter and tighter with content, email, paid media, and other marketing channels, and is poised to become the connective tissue for the marketing organization.

Most used social networks

Facebook is still the most used social network with 1.65bn monthly active users (the number of people who sign in each month), followed by YouTube at 1 million and Twitter 310 million.

Social network numbers June 2016

Social network numbers June 2016

Key Takeaway #1 Most social media teams now sit in the marketing department

  • 63.2% of social media teams live within the marketing organization, up from 57% in 2015
  • There was also a slight growth in companies that include social media as a part of the communications team, growing from 13% in 2015 to 16.5% in 2016.
  • Very few social teams are focused on customer service, and only 4.5% of companies roll social media up to the public relations team, down from 9% in 2015.
Simply Measured report 2016 social media now part of the marketing department

Social media a core cog in the marketing wheel

Key Takeaway #2 Social media manager is a real job

Asked the breakdown of job titles within the marketing department it seems that the emergence of the social media manager is over-shadowing other titles.

  • 26.3% of respondents have the title of social media manager
  • 60% of teams noting that social media manager is a role within their company
  • 13.7% of respondents are marketing managers
  • 7.9% identified as VPs or Directors of Marketing, which shows an increased interest in social at the leadership level.
  • The 37.8% of respondents that fall into the “other” bucket mainly self-identified as social strategists, social media coordinators, and content producers.
  • This catch-all bucket has grown from 30.1% in 2015, demonstrating the need for more nuanced roles and broader skill sets on social media teams.
Simply Measured state of social marketing report 2016

Social media manager most prevalent job title in marketing department


Key Takeaway #3 Social media teams are still 2-person teams

While social media is growing, team sizes have stayed small. Most teams have only one or two people focused on social media.

  • 68% of social media teams have 1-2 people dedicated to social media
  • The percentage of companies with 3-5 social employees has grown from 18* to 21.1% since 2015
Simply Measured State of Social Marketing Report 2016

Social media teams are still very small made up of mostly 1 or 2 people


Key Takeaway #4 There’s a social data disconnect

While marketers rank being able to measure return on investment as the number one metric the want and need to measure, this is not reflected in what marketers are actually measuring. This illustrates a data disconnect probably down to analytics knowledge and education.

  • Engagement is still a primary measurement focus for social media marketers, with 56% of marketers citing engagement as their standard metric.
  • Only 20.7% of marketers said conversion and revenue metrics were a focus.
State of social marketing report 2016 by Simple Measured

Marketers are measuring what they want to


Key Takeaway #5 Biggest challenge for marketers is measuring social ROI

Engagement is the primary metric marketers are using, but the biggest challenge is measuring ROI. We asked marketers what their biggest challenges were, and again, measuring ROI and connecting the dots between social media and broader marketing goals was a major theme.

  • Measuring ROI was the number one challenge for social marketers, with 61.1% citing this as their top challenge.
  • This is up slightly from 60% in 2015.
Simply measured state of social marketing report 2016

Time to step up to the social ROI challenge


Key Takeaway #6 Marketers can’t quantify revenue driven by social

Being able to report to CMOs or CEOs about the revenue generated by any marketing spend is vital so it seems that this remains an issue for most marketers.

  • 9.4% of marketers say they’re able to quantify the revenue driven by social media
  • This is despite 78.1% of respondents having conversations with their boss about social media ROI
Simply Measured state of social marketing report 2016

Marketers are struggling to quantify revenue generated by social

Key Takeaway #7 Lack of budget is holding marketers back

We all know that being truly social requires investment in social media tools, training, graphic design and even extra human capital. However, while social has safely merged into marketing, there remains a lack of commitment to funding.

  • 38.2% of respondents call out budget and resources as a challenge.
  • This is amplified when it comes to budget for software (i.e. analytics, content creation, publishing). Only 23.5% of social marketers say budget for software is not a problem.
  • 42.4% say they have budget, but not enough for the software they need, so they’re forced to use sub-par analytics, creation, and publishing products.
  • Even worse, 34.1% say they don’t have any budget for software at all.


Simply measured state of social marketing report 2016

A lack of investment in social is holding marketers back


Simply measured state of social marketing report 2016

Marketers say that people and publishing software requires investment



It’s clear that while social media marketing is being taken The state of Social Marketing Survey 2016 - A Summaryseriously by organizations, there remains a large gap in the realization that it requires constant investment mainly software and people. I have no doubt this will improve over the coming 12 months, but why wait?  Why not invest now and maximise return from social marketing when we already know it’s power within the entire marketing matrix.








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