New research reveals business leaders agree continued investment in social media is critical for long-term success, driven by social data’s growing value in business intelligence
With 86% of business leaders reporting that social media often or consistently informs their overall business strategies, four in five expect their company’s social media budget to increase in the next three years
Chicago/London — May 16, 2023 — New research announced from Sprout Social, an industry-leading provider of social media management software, conducted by The Harris Poll, reveals 80% of business leaders anticipate their company’s social media budget to increase over the next three years as 93% agree social media data and insights will be a primary source of business intelligence moving forward. The report, The 2023 State of Social Media: AI & Data Take Center Stage, shows nearly every executive understands the value of social media data in informing key business decisions across an organization. Among those who anticipate an increase in social media budget in the next three years, more than one in four (44%) expect their social media budget to increase by more than 50%, despite macroeconomic trends putting pressure on organization-wide budgets.
The Harris Poll, on behalf of Sprout Social, surveyed 778 U.S. and U.K. business leaders in marketing, customer care and communications, and found that 90% agree their company’s success will depend on how effectively it can use social media data and insights to inform business strategy—and they’re turning to AI to help. In fact, virtually every business leader surveyed (97%) believes AI and ML tools will enable companies to analyze social media data more efficiently, and 87% anticipate increases to their company’s AI/ML investments in the next three years in response. Furthermore, the majority believe that more effectively leveraging social data (58%) and investing in emerging technologies to create efficient workflows (59%) will give their companies a competitive advantage moving forward.
“It’s encouraging to see the extent to which business leaders now understand social’s ability to influence every aspect of their organization, and the resulting investments being made in social will catapult brands into their next phase of growth,” said Jamie Gilpin, CMO of Sprout Social. “With frontline access to the most impactful data and insights available, marketers have the opportunity to not only educate their organizations, but to drive foundational change. By giving every department access to the latest social intelligence, marketers can lead their business strategies while ensuring their organization stays ahead of the competition.”
Other notable highlights from the report include:
- AI’s potential in business and marketing is clear: 86% of business leaders agree the implementation of AI and ML is critical for long-term success, citing behavioral segmentation (49%), predictive analytics (45%), dynamic pricing (45%), and sentiment analysis (44%) among the most useful applications of AI/ML for marketing.
- Business leaders are increasingly using social data in a variety of ways and still think it’s being underutilized: While 70% of business leaders agree it’s easy to demonstrate social media’s impact on their company’s bottom line, a similar proportion (69%) also agree that social media data and insights are currently underutilized at their company. Currently, business leaders indicate that customer service (62%), brand awareness (60%), and market or industry insights (53%) are the top three aspects of their company’s business strategy informed by social media data and insights.
- Social media is the channel for customer care: The majority of business leaders agree that social media is critical for both delivering exceptional customer care (88%) and for customer retention (88%), and 96% say it’s integral for capturing customer sentiment and feedback about products or services. Nearly every business leader surveyed (96%) expects social data to be integrated into the company’s customer relationship management capabilities in the next three years, and 93% believe increased investment in AI/ML will be crucial for scaling customer care functions in that time.
- Social media management software has become a crucial component of the corporate technology stack: Roughly 7 in 10 business leaders (69%) report their company currently uses social media management (SMM) software, with 88% agreeing that it’s a critical tool in their company’s technology solutions. For those that use SMM software, 74% use customer engagement features, about 6 in 10 use social commerce (63%) and social listening features (62%), and around half use employee advocacy (55%), analytics (53%), and publishing and scheduling features (52%).
With intentional investment in people, tools, and training, brands have a massive opportunity to tap into the wealth of business intelligence social media provides so they can achieve long-term growth and success.
For more information on the prominent role social media is playing in business, download the full report here.
About Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a global leader in social media management and analytics software. Sprout’s unified platform puts powerful social data into the hands of more than 30,000 brands so they can make strategic decisions that drive business growth and innovation. With a full suite of social media management solutions, Sprout offers comprehensive publishing and engagement functionality, customer care, connected workflows, and AI-powered business intelligence. Sprout’s award-winning software operates across all major social media networks and digital platforms. For more information about Sprout Social (NASDAQ: SPT), visit sproutsocial.com.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing. To learn more, please visit theharrispoll.com.
About The Report
This research was conducted online in the U.S. and U.K. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sprout Social among 778 social media marketing, customer care, and communications professionals from a cross-section of the US and UK businesses. The survey was conducted from March 13 to March 27, 2023. Qualified respondents met the following criteria: reside in the United States or United Kingdom; 18 years of age or older; employed full-time; manager title or above; work within social media marketing, customer service/customer care, or communications/public relations functions; be involved in the decisions about social media strategy and marketing for their respective functions and businesses; and work for a company that currently uses social media as an external communications channel.
Raw data was not weighted and is therefore only representative of the individuals who completed the survey.
Social Media Profiles:
Phone: (773) 904-9674
Phone: (312) 528-9166