The State of Social 2018 Report: Your Guide to Latest Social Media Marketing Research [New Data]

What’s in store for the social media industry in 2018?

The way consumers use social media channels is constantly evolving and as marketers and entrepreneurs, we need to adapt to these changes.

To better understand these changes, plus what’s ahead for 2018 and beyond we teamed up with Social Media Week to collect data from over 1,700 marketers and create the State of Social Media 2018 report. The report shows us how marketers, from businesses of all sizes, are approaching social media marketing.

Ready to jump in?

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world.

Contents:

3 Key social media takeaways to guide your marketing in 2018

1. There are huge opportunities in the messaging space (only 20 percent of marketers have used messaging apps for marketing)

Messaging platforms have grown at an incredible rate over the last couple of years. And there are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)1.

Despite this incredible growth, our State of Social 2018 survey found that just 20 percent of businesses have invested in marketing through messenger platforms:

After seeing such high user growth for the past few years, companies like Facebook will begin to focus on how they can monetize chat apps which will open up new advertising opportunities for marketers.

Right now, marketers still appear to be investing more time and resources into social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but as organic reach continues to decline (more on this below), we’ll see a greater number of marketers experiment with messaging apps as a way to connect with their audience.

2. Companies that invest in social media ads are more than twice as likely to say social media marketing is “very effective” for their business

When we asked respondents how effective social media marketing has been for their business 45 percent said “somewhat effective” and a further 29 percent believed that social media marketing had been “very effective”.

However, when we split these results based on whether or not the respondents had invested in ads, we found that businesses that have invested in social media ads are more than twice as likely to report that social media marketing is “very effective”.

Whereas businesses that have not invested in ads are more than twice as likely to report that the effectiveness of social media marketing for their business is “uncertain” or “very ineffective”.

3. Engagement is the #1 way to measure ROI from social media advertising

When we asked respondents how they measure the ROI of their social media advertising campaigns, 42 percent said engagement, followed by leads (17 percent) and sales (15 percent):

When we broke down the data by business size, engagement was still the #1 way both small and large businesses measure ROI from social media advertising:

This appears to be the continuation of a trend we noted in 2017, where social media is becoming more about engagement than driving traffic or making direct sales.

State of Social 2018: The full report

About the State of Social Media survey and data

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers (1,796 to be precise) from businesses of all sizes. You can view a more detailed breakdown on the data at the bottom of this post.

How marketers are using social media platforms: 7 insights you need to know

1. Facebook is still the leading platform for marketers (96 percent of businesses use Facebook)

Facebook is the leading platform for marketers with 96 percent saying their business is actively using it. Twitter was close behind with 89 percent of respondents saying they use the platform for their business.

2. Facebook organic reach continues to decline (only 21 percent of respondents haven’t noticed a decline in the past 12 months)

Facebook is constantly tweaking its News Feed algorithm and it appears that organic reach has once again declined over the past 12 months with just 21 percent of people “disagreeing” or “strongly disagreeing” with the below statement:

3. Video is a top priority for 2018 (85 percent of businesses would like to create more video content)

Video has been booming across social channels for the past couple of years and 85 percent of businesses are keen to create more video in 2018:

When we asked what’s currently holding businesses back from creating more video content lack of time and budget were the two main blockers:

4. Facebook is dominating the paid advertising space (94 percent of marketers have used Facebook Ads)

Facebook is the most popular platform for paid ads (94 percent), followed by Instagram (44 percent), with LinkedIn and Twitter tied in third place (26 percent):

Looking ahead, 67 percent of businesses are looking to increase their social media advertising budget in 2018:

5. Images are the most shared type of content (95 percent of businesses post images to social channels)

Ninty-five percent of respondents said their business posts images, with links (85 percent) being the second most shared content type:

6. The rise of stories (68 percent of marketers are planning on creating more stories in 2018)

Last year, only 29 percent of State of Social respondents had created stories on Instagram or Snapchat. This year 42 percent have created stories on Instagram (just 11 percent had created stories on Snapchat):

Further to this, 68 percent of respondents plan to create more stories content in 2018:

7. Live video hasn’t yet caught on (only 31 percent of marketers have broadcast live video)

In our last State of Social report, 26 percent of marketers said they had created live video content. In 2017, 31 percent of marketers said they had broadcast live content-just a 5 percent increase:

For those who have created live video, Facebook was the number one platform of choice, ahead of Instagram and Periscope (Twitter):

Live video could still present a huge opportunity in 2018, though. Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, recently revealed that live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. This could be especially valuable for Page owners as Facebook is making changes to their News Feed algorithm to give people more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

Check out the full State of Social 2018 report below

The data: Who took part in the survey?

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers from businesses of all sizes. The majority of respondents work at companies who focus on both B2B and B2C customers (43 percent), while 33 percent work at purely B2B companies and 25 percent at B2C companies. 49 percent of our respondents work at businesses with 1-10 employees. At the other end of the scale, 7 percent of respondents work at companies with over 200 employees.

Company size

Just under half (49 percent) of the people who took our survey work at companies with fewer than 10 full-time staff. A further 21 percent work at companies with between 11-50 full-time team members. Here’s the full breakdown:

  • 49 percent: Fewer than 10 people
  • 13 percent: 11-25 people
  • 8 percent: 26-50 people
  • 8 percent: 1,001+ people
  • 7 percent: 51-100 people
  • 6 percent: 101-200 people
  • 5 percent: 201-500 people
  • 4 percent: 501-1,000 people

Marketing team size

The majority of respondents in our survey work closely with a small number of colleagues in their marketing teams or act as the sole marketer at their company:

  • 41 percent of respondents were the only marketer at their company
  • 38 percent of people worked in marketing teams of between 2-5 colleagues
  • 11 percent of people work in marketing teams larger than 11 people
  • 9 percent of people work in marketing teams of between 6-10

Industry breakdown

Twenty-three percent of those who took the survey work at organizations in the marketing, PR, and advertising space. Other industries include: Media and Publishing (11 percent); Non-Profit (10 percent); Education (8 percent);  Consumer Products (8 percent); IT & Services (6 percent);  Software (5 percent); E-commerce (3 percent); Medical & Healthcare (3 percent); Financial (3 percent); Travel & Tourism (2 percent); Financial Services (2 percent); Government (2 percent); Law & Legal Services (1 percent); Other (15 percent).

⬆ Back to the top.

Over to you

Thanks so much for checking out our State of Social 2018 report. We hope you enjoyed the data and discovered some useful takeaways for your business.

P.S. We’ve made the data open and available to anyone in this Google Sheet (feel free to make a copy and interrogate in any way you’d like – we’d love to hear what you might find). You can also download a copy of all the State of Social 2018 charts here.

Feature image via Jaelynn Castillo. 

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The State of Social 2018 Report: Your Guide to Latest Social Media Marketing Research [New Data]

What’s in store for the social media industry in 2018?

The way consumers use social media channels is constantly evolving and as marketers and entrepreneurs, we need to adapt to these changes.

To better understand these changes, plus what’s ahead for 2018 and beyond we teamed up with Social Media Week to collect data from over 1,700 marketers and create the State of Social Media 2018 report. The report shows us how marketers, from businesses of all sizes, are approaching social media marketing.

Ready to jump in?

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world.

Contents:

3 Key social media takeaways to guide your marketing in 2018

1. There are huge opportunities in the messaging space (only 20 percent of marketers have used messaging apps for marketing)

Messaging platforms have grown at an incredible rate over the last couple of years. And there are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)1.

Despite this incredible growth, our State of Social 2018 survey found that just 20 percent of businesses have invested in marketing through messenger platforms:

After seeing such high user growth for the past few years, companies like Facebook will begin to focus on how they can monetize chat apps which will open up new advertising opportunities for marketers.

Right now, marketers still appear to be investing more time and resources into social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but as organic reach continues to decline (more on this below), we’ll see a greater number of marketers experiment with messaging apps as a way to connect with their audience.

2. Companies that invest in social media ads are more than twice as likely to say social media marketing is “very effective” for their business

When we asked respondents how effective social media marketing has been for their business 45 percent said “somewhat effective” and a further 29 percent believed that social media marketing had been “very effective”.

However, when we split these results based on whether or not the respondents had invested in ads, we found that businesses that have invested in social media ads are more than twice as likely to report that social media marketing is “very effective”.

Whereas businesses that have not invested in ads are more than twice as likely to report that the effectiveness of social media marketing for their business is “uncertain” or “very ineffective”.

3. Engagement is the #1 way to measure ROI from social media advertising

When we asked respondents how they measure the ROI of their social media advertising campaigns, 42 percent said engagement, followed by leads (17 percent) and sales (15 percent):

When we broke down the data by business size, engagement was still the #1 way both small and large businesses measure ROI from social media advertising:

This appears to be the continuation of a trend we noted in 2017, where social media is becoming more about engagement than driving traffic or making direct sales.

State of Social 2018: The full report

About the State of Social Media survey and data

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers (1,796 to be precise) from businesses of all sizes. You can view a more detailed breakdown on the data at the bottom of this post.

How marketers are using social media platforms: 7 insights you need to know

1. Facebook is still the leading platform for marketers (96 percent of businesses use Facebook)

Facebook is the leading platform for marketers with 96 percent saying their business is actively using it. Twitter was close behind with 89 percent of respondents saying they use the platform for their business.

2. Facebook organic reach continues to decline (only 21 percent of respondents haven’t noticed a decline in the past 12 months)

Facebook is constantly tweaking its News Feed algorithm and it appears that organic reach has once again declined over the past 12 months with just 21 percent of people “disagreeing” or “strongly disagreeing” with the below statement:

3. Video is a top priority for 2018 (85 percent of businesses would like to create more video content)

Video has been booming across social channels for the past couple of years and 85 percent of businesses are keen to create more video in 2018:

When we asked what’s currently holding businesses back from creating more video content lack of time and budget were the two main blockers:

4. Facebook is dominating the paid advertising space (94 percent of marketers have used Facebook Ads)

Facebook is the most popular platform for paid ads (94 percent), followed by Instagram (44 percent), with LinkedIn and Twitter tied in third place (26 percent):

Looking ahead, 67 percent of businesses are looking to increase their social media advertising budget in 2018:

5. Images are the most shared type of content (95 percent of businesses post images to social channels)

Ninty-five percent of respondents said their business posts images, with links (85 percent) being the second most shared content type:

6. The rise of stories (68 percent of marketers are planning on creating more stories in 2018)

Last year, only 29 percent of State of Social respondents had created stories on Instagram or Snapchat. This year 42 percent have created stories on Instagram (just 11 percent had created stories on Snapchat):

Further to this, 68 percent of respondents plan to create more stories content in 2018:

7. Live video hasn’t yet caught on (only 31 percent of marketers have broadcast live video)

In our last State of Social report, 26 percent of marketers said they had created live video content. In 2017, 31 percent of marketers said they had broadcast live content-just a 5 percent increase:

For those who have created live video, Facebook was the number one platform of choice, ahead of Instagram and Periscope (Twitter):

Live video could still present a huge opportunity in 2018, though. Facebook’s Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, recently revealed that live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. This could be especially valuable for Page owners as Facebook is making changes to their News Feed algorithm to give people more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

Check out the full State of Social 2018 report below

The data: Who took part in the survey?

For this report, we surveyed over 1,700 marketers from businesses of all sizes. The majority of respondents work at companies who focus on both B2B and B2C customers (43 percent), while 33 percent work at purely B2B companies and 25 percent at B2C companies. 49 percent of our respondents work at businesses with 1-10 employees. At the other end of the scale, 7 percent of respondents work at companies with over 200 employees.

Company size

Just under half (49 percent) of the people who took our survey work at companies with fewer than 10 full-time staff. A further 21 percent work at companies with between 11-50 full-time team members. Here’s the full breakdown:

  • 49 percent: Fewer than 10 people
  • 13 percent: 11-25 people
  • 8 percent: 26-50 people
  • 8 percent: 1,001+ people
  • 7 percent: 51-100 people
  • 6 percent: 101-200 people
  • 5 percent: 201-500 people
  • 4 percent: 501-1,000 people

Marketing team size

The majority of respondents in our survey work closely with a small number of colleagues in their marketing teams or act as the sole marketer at their company:

  • 41 percent of respondents were the only marketer at their company
  • 38 percent of people worked in marketing teams of between 2-5 colleagues
  • 11 percent of people work in marketing teams larger than 11 people
  • 9 percent of people work in marketing teams of between 6-10

Industry breakdown

Twenty-three percent of those who took the survey work at organizations in the marketing, PR, and advertising space. Other industries include: Media and Publishing (11 percent); Non-Profit (10 percent); Education (8 percent);  Consumer Products (8 percent); IT & Services (6 percent);  Software (5 percent); E-commerce (3 percent); Medical & Healthcare (3 percent); Financial (3 percent); Travel & Tourism (2 percent); Financial Services (2 percent); Government (2 percent); Law & Legal Services (1 percent); Other (15 percent).

⬆ Back to the top.

Over to you

Thanks so much for checking out our State of Social 2018 report. We hope you enjoyed the data and discovered some useful takeaways for your business.

P.S. We’ve made the data open and available to anyone in this Google Sheet (feel free to make a copy and interrogate in any way you’d like – we’d love to hear what you might find). You can also download a copy of all the State of Social 2018 charts here.

Feature image via Jaelynn Castillo. 

Amazon expands its Alexa-powered Echo Spot from the U.S. into the U.K and Germany


Amazon has announced that its Alexa-powered Echo Spot is officially available to buy outside the U.S., as the company opens preorders in the U.K. and Germany.

The ecommerce giant unveiled the latest Echo incarnation back in September when it launched the Echo Spot for $130. It’s similar to the Echo Show insofar as it has a screen, except it’s squeezed into an alarm clock-style form factor.

Sporting a 2.5-inch circular screen, the Echo Spot isn’t really designed for watching movies, but it could prove useful for video calls, short news snippets, weather forecasts, and so on. As per its form factor, it’s also designed for use as a bedside alarm clock.

Above: Echo Spot

As with other Echo devices, the Echo Spot integrates with the broader smart home, meaning you can use your voice to control your lights and thermostats, set alarms, request weather updates, and play music via the built-in two-watt speaker.

The Echo Spot is available to pre-order from today for £119.99 in the U.K. and €129.99 in Germany, which converts roughly to $165 / $160 as of today’s exchange rate – significantly more expensive than the $130 price-tag in the U.S. At any rate, the Echo Spot will begin shipping to European customers from January 24.

THE OMNICHANNEL FULFILLMENT REPORT: How retailers can overcome challenges to fend off Amazon’s threat

Retailers and BrexitBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are caught on the wrong side of the digital shift in retail, with many stuck in a dangerous cycle of falling foot traffic, declining comparable-store sales, and increasing store closures.

More than 8,600 retail stores could close this year in the US – more than the previous two years combined, brokerage firm Credit Suisse said in a recent report. Meanwhile, e-commerce pureplays are riding the rise of digital commerce to success – none more so than Amazon, which accounted for 53% of online sales growth in the US last year, according to Slice Intelligence. 

In response, many brick-and-mortar retailers have started to use omnichannel fulfillment methods that leverage their store locations and in-store inventory in order to better compete in e-commerce. These omnichannel services, including ship-from-store and click-and-collect, can help retailers manage the transition to digital by:

  • Increasing online sales by offering cheaper, more convenient delivery options for online shoppers.
  • Limiting the growth of shipping costs as online sales volumes increase by leveraging store networks for delivery.
  • Keeping stores relevant by turning them into fulfillment centers that pull customers in to pick up online orders.

However, few retailers have mastered these new fulfillment services. While these companies have spent years optimizing their supply chain and logistics networks for delivering goods to their stores or directly to customers’ doorsteps, most have yet to figure out how to profitably bring their store locations into the e-commerce delivery process.

In a new report, BI Intelligence lays out the case for why retailers must transition to an omnichannel fulfillment model, and the challenges complicating that transition for most companies. We also detail the benefits and difficulties involved with specific omnichannel fulfillment services like click-and-collect, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store, providing examples of retailers that have experienced success and struggles with these methods. Lastly, we walk through the steps retailers need to take to optimize omnichannel fulfillment for lower costs and faster delivery times. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Brick-and-mortar retailers must cut delivery times and costs to meet online shoppers’ expectations of free and fast shipping.
  • Omnichannel fulfillment services can help retailers achieve that goal while also keeping their stores relevant. 
  • However, few retailers have mastered these services, which has led to increasing shipping costs eating into their profit margins.
  • In order to optimize costs and realize the full benefits of these omnichannel services, retailers must undertake costly and time-consuming transformations of their logistics, inventory, and store systems and operations.

 In full, the report:

  • Details the benefits of omnichannel services like click-and-collect and ship-from-store, including lowering delivery times and costs, and driving in-store traffic and sales.
  • Provides examples of the successes and struggles various retailers have experienced with omnichannel delivery.
  • Explains why retailers are having trouble managing costs with their omnichannel fulfillment efforts, which are eating into their profits.
  •  Lays out what steps retailers need to take to optimize costs for their omnichannel operations by placing inventory where it best meets customer demand.

To get the full report, subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the report from our research store.

Startup founders are older, more diverse, and don’t live in San Francisco


For decades, Silicon Valley was the place to build a thriving tech career. Just like actors flock to Los Angeles and writers to New York City, eager young coders swarmed to San Francisco for their chance to make it big.

Look no further than the popular HBO sitcom Silicon Valley. There’s a reason the Pied Piper guys are portrayed as nerdy, young, eccentric coders – that sort of person once defined tech culture. The stereotype became so ubiquitous that many people still believe you’re locked out of the tech industry unless you have the founding team trifecta: youth, coding experience, and residence in (or near) San Francisco.


VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech channel invites you to join us and other senior business leaders at BLUEPRINT in Reno on March 5-7. Learn how to expand jobs to Middle America, lower costs, and boost profits. Click here to request an invite and be a part of the conversation. 


While that may have once been true, “tech” is no longer an industry unto itself. Companies from every sector (and every state) are starting to resemble tech startups, and the door has opened for founders without technical backgrounds – and who aren’t from San Francisco – to get in on the action.

Loosening Silicon Valley’s grip

It’s true that VC investments have historically championed startups built by young Bay Area founders. In 2014, the average Silicon Valley-based founder was 31.

The startup world has also demonstrated a long-held bias toward founders with tech backgrounds. Y Combinator, the most successful accelerator in the world, openly favors companies founded by hackers. And until recently, many Bay Area investors refused to consider investing in companies that weren’t a 30-minute drive from their office. But between 2010 and 2015, Bay Area VCs increased their nonlocal investments by 103 percent, and having a computer science degree is no longer requisite.

How significant is this shift?

The facts speak for themselves. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently found that the average successful founder is 47. Still not convinced? Many of the founders of today’s top unicorns weren’t computer science majors. Evan Spiegel studied product design at Stanford, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were classmates at the Rhode Island School of Design before launching their home rental platform, and Pinterest’s Ben Silbermann worked in advertising at Google before launching his company.

The exponential advancement of technology has led to a boom in tech entrepreneurship, and VCs are hungry to bet on the next big thing, regardless where they find it. They’re also eager to invest in companies that can solve deeply rooted problems in industries that have been slow to embrace tech.

Think about it. Will solutions to massive problems in government technology come from coders in the Bay Area or from industry experts in Washington, D.C.? Will companies that solve agricultural woes be based in San Francisco or Iowa? In many cases, people who have decades of experience in a particular field are better equipped to innovate than those whose expertise is limited to technology, which is why my startup accelerator, Coplex, focuses on teams with industry expertise.

Investors are more open than ever to backing nontraditional founders who can navigate industry-specific challenges. Now that VCs are forced to look beyond their Silicon Valley comfort zones for enough deal flow, capturing that cash is anyone’s game.

Tech for all

With seed investors such as Rise of the Rest closing a monster $150 million fund focused on non-coastal tech companies, investors are acknowledging that (surprise, surprise) brilliant minds can be found in “flyover country.” Heartland communities can unite their industry strengths with technical skills to enable a new breed of startup. Here’s how:

1.  Leverage your expertise.

Your city undeniably has some industry encoded in its DNA. Find ways to leverage that strength. Investors are much more likely to put money into a company or fund that is in an industry they understand or are passionate about.

Not sure what startups might mesh with your community’s expertise? Look at the corporations dominating your area. Detroit? Auto tech. Iowa? Agricultural tech is a good place to start.

2. Foster diverse entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Offer funding and promotion for diversity-focused entrepreneurship groups to ensure that people of all ages, ethnicities, and coding backgrounds get a crack at new opportunities. Encourage groups such as Girls in Tech, the Founder Institute, and Startup Weekend to form local chapters.

3. Facilitate connections between startups and corporations

Ditch the standard pitch competition. Instead, invite established local corporations to present their problems to area entrepreneurs, who will then attempt to fix these real-life issues. Founders will be solving actual problems in their local business community, which should make it much easier to land clients and investment deals. While local companies might lack the coding background necessary to make their tech visions a reality, founders will appreciate their industry-specific input.

4. Explore potential tax credits and incentive programs.

Tax credits are a great way to get successful business owners and investors to back promising startups. Arizona, where my company is based, has a great angel tax credit program. Events such as Venture Madness and the Arizona Innovation Challenge draw hundreds of thousands of dollars in giveaways to support new startups.

The companies benefit from the free resources, and the donors enjoy tax breaks. Just make sure any incentive programs include people from nontechnical backgrounds to guarantee the money supports your entire startup ecosystem.

The tech challenges of the future will demand deeper industry expertise and more perspectives than any one city could possibly contain. There’s never been a better time for entrepreneurs who don’t fit the Silicon Valley mold to shine.

Zach Ferres is the CEO of Coplex, a startup accelerator that works with non-coding, subject matter expert founding teams to create new software companies.