Best Social Media and Digital Marketing Research and Statistics of 2011, Part 1

November 28, 2011

Sure, teenagers spend a lot of time on YouTube, but did you know that three-quarters of business executives watch work-related online videos weekly? Or that 73% of U.S. companies now use social media for marketing (though the figure varies widely based on size of company)? Or which four cities rank ahead of Seattle and San Francisco as the “most networked?” Or that49% of B2B journalists write blogs, and 84% are on Twiter? Or that a third (or more, depending on which study you believe) of all clicks go to the top result on a search engine query?

Best of 2011 - Social Media Statistics and ResearchGet the details behind these stats and many, many more here in more than 40 of the best articles and blog posts about social media, search, budgeting and digital marketing research, facts and statistics of 2011 so far.

Social Media Stats, Facts and Research

Does Facebook Need To Build A Search Engine? by MediaPost SearchBlog

Laurie SullivanSocial media sites now drive more traffic to many popular sites—including Comedy Central, NFL.com and Netflix—than Google does. Citing these and other statistics, Laurie Sullivan ponders the meaning of the term “search engine.” She quotes Wedbush Equity Analyst Lou Kerner, who has called Facebook “‘the second Internet,’ with time spent on Facebook and page views surpassing Google search.” Facebook has become the (far more successful) second coming of what AOL was back in the early 90s. As Mark Twain allegedly quipped, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

Executives & Online Video [CHARTS] by eStrategy After Hours

David EricksonDavid Erickson shares eMarketer findings about the popularity of online video among business executives. Among the findings: “Three-quarters of all executives said they watched work-related videos on business websites at least once a week, and more than half did the same on YouTube.” Nearly a quarter prefer video content to text. And nearly two out of three executives have visited a vendor’s website after viewing an online video elsewhere.

Content Sharing Trends in 2010 [Infographic] by Pamorama

Pam DyerPam Dyer reports on data from AddThis showing the top methods for sharing information from more than 300 options. Not too surprisingly, Facebook is the #1 method for passing along content, followed by email and then Twitter. Gmail and StumbleUpon are the fastest growing methods, however.

B2B marketers: give us inbound, social, e-mail, marketing automation and content by Conversion Marketing Forum

J-P DeClerckAfter pondering some of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, J-P De Clerck shares data from MarketingSherpa showing that lead generation is (by far) the top priority for B2B marketers (with 78% saying that generating high-quality leads is their top priority) while budget increases are going overwhelmingly to inbound marketing tactics (with 60%+ spending more on content, social media and SEO).

Pew: Republicans, Democrats Use Social Media Equally by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Mark Walsh summarizes research findings from a Pew survey revealing that “22% (of) online adults used Twitter or other social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace in the months leading up to the November 2010 elections…Among social network users, 40% of Republican voters and 38% of Democratic voters used these sites to become involved politically.” At least something is bipartisan.

Social Media 2010, The Fastest Growth Ever by MyCorporateMedia

Randy SchrumRandy Schrum supplies some interesting social media statistics, such as: Twitter users post more than 65 million tweets per day. Over 2 billion videos are viewed every day on YouTube. And 73% of U.S. companies now use social media for marketing.

16 social media statistics that might surprise you by Communications Conversations

Arik HansonArik Hanson lists social media stats from various sources showing that 75% of brand ‘Likes’ on Facebook come from advertisements. 22% of Fortune 500 companies have a public-facing blog that has at least one post in the past 12 months. Fridays at 4 p.m. eastern time (U.S.) are the most retweetable day/time of the week, per Dan Zarella of HubSpot. (I don’t buy that one, as in my experience, Twitter pretty much dies between noon on Friday and early Saturday morning.) 48% of Twitter users say they rarely or never check Twitter. (That I believe.)

Report: CMOs Eager To Integrate Social Tools by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reports that chief marketing officers have embraced social media: “From Facebook to Twitter, a full 90% of chief marketing officers now participate in an average of three or more social media activities.” And 93% planned to use some form of user-generated content in their marketing efforts this year, including customer stories, product suggestions or ideas, and customer reviews.

65 Terrific Social Media Infographics by Pamorama

Writing that “These snapshots communicate essential information to help marketers make sense of the social networking space and how people are using it in their everyday lives to communicate and share information and ideas,” Pam Dyer shares a huge collection of infographics on everything from the history of social networking to how marketers are using social media to the meteoric rise of Twitter to how people are using social media on mobile devices.

Is a Blog Still Important in 2011? by Edelman Digital

Jonny BentwoodNoting that “a blog is a focal point and acts as a base of operations for communications,” Jonny Bentwood details the benefits of business blogging as well as the growth stats: 39% of U.S. companies are currently using blogs for marketing purposes, up from 29% in 2009 and just 16% in 2007.

Minneapolis is 4th-Most Socially Networked City by Twin Cities Business

Congrats to my fellow Minneapolitans! According to the TCB article,”If you live or work in Minneapolis, chances are good that you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and/or a LinkedIn page. The city ranked fourth on Men’s Health magazine’s just-released list of the ‘most socially networked cities.’ Minnesota’s most populous city earned an A+ grade and ranked just behind Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Georgia; and Denver, Colorado.” Minneapolis ranked ahead of Seattle (#5), San Francisco (#6) and Boston (#9). Oh yeah.

Social Ads Spur Big Engagement Opportunities by iMedia Connection

According to research from social media advertising firm appssavvy, social activity ads (e.g., “an item in a social game or appear after a social network user fills out an online poll”) significantly outperform rich media ads, performing roughly twice as well. Paid search ads, however, still outperform both.

Social Media Statistics by The B2B Guide to Social Media
***** 5 Stars

This is one of the most amazing and comprehensive sources of social media statistics anywhere (other than the Webbiquity blog marketing research section, of course). Among the multitude of stats you can find here about blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, video, social gaming and more:

  • • 49% of B2B journalists have blogs. 14% of all blogs are about technology and internet marketing.
  • • Only 20% of blogs attract 10,000 or more unique visitors per month; 48% draw less than 1,000 readers each month.
  • • 70% of marketers planned to increase their social media budgets by 10% or more in 2011.
  • • 85% of B2B journalists are on Facebook. Almost one-third of all Facebook posts are created from mobile devices.
  • • The number of monthly active users on Twitter increased 82% from January to September 2011.
  • • 84% of journalists are on Twitter.
  • • 58% of people said “they unfollowed someone because their tweets appeared automated” while 34% said the same because the offenders tweeted about themselves too much.
  • • 66% unfollowed someone due to excessive tweeting (35 tweets per day is considered, on average, the upper limited of acceptable tweeting).
  • • And much more.

The Winners & Losers of Social Networking [INFOGRAPHIC] by Mashable Social Media

Jolie O'DellObserving that “social networking as a whole might be leveling off,” Jolie O’Dell explains which networks are still on the rise (e.g., Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn) and which are declining (MySpace – there’s a shock, Friendster, Ning and Hi5) as well as sharing details about the demographics of several top social networks (e.g. Habbo users are the youngest, Plaxo’s the oldest, and LinkedIn’s the wealthiest).

Under 1 Percent of Web Visits Comes from Social Media by Marketing Pilgrim

Cynthia BorisCynthia Boris shares research findings from ForeSee Results indicating that, across a cross-section of websites, less than 1% of visits come directly from a social media URL, though an additional 17% of visits are “influenced” by social media. That sounded low to me, so I checked some of the B2B technology client sites I manage. Their social media traffic ranged from 4% to 9% of total traffic. And nearly 15% of visits to this blog come from social media sources (including other blogs). So, check your own stats; your mileage may vary.

Study: 93% of B2B Marketers Use Social Media Marketing by Social Media B2B

Adam Holden-BacheThe always insightful Adam Holden-Bache reports that according to research from BtoB Magazine, “B2B marketers overwhelmingly favor ‘the big 3′ social media channels, with LinkedIn being the most-used channel (72%). Facebook (71%) and Twitter (67%) are close behind…Other channels used by B2B marketers include YouTube (48%), blogging (44%) and online communities (22%).” Although B2B marketers are increasingly using social media channels in their marketing and PR efforts, however, Adam notes that “75% of B2B marketers who conduct social marketing say they do not measure the ROI of their social marketing programs.”

Report: Where Marketers are Focusing in Social Media by Social Marketing Forum

Jim DucharmeJim Ducharme demonstrates the increasing importance of social media for marketers based on the amount of time spent on such efforts. 58% of marketers devote six hours or more each week to social media, while 15% spend more than half their time with it. The amount of time spent tends to increase with experience. Preferences also shift: while Facebook is the top network of choice for those with one to three years of social media marketing experience, Twitter is the favorite tool of those who are more seasoned.

Report: Future Plans for Focus in Social Marketing by Social Marketing Forum

In a follow-up piece to the post above, Jim Ducharme discusses social media marketers’ future plans. The largest percentage (77% overall, 82% in large enterprises) plan to invest more in YouTube and online video in the coming year. 75% intend to increase efforts on Facebook and blogging, 73% on Twitter, and 71% on LinkedIn. Just 19% plan to increase efforts with GroupOn.

Social Media 2011 Just The Stats by Reciprocate

Karen EmanuelsonKaren Emanuelson shares research from HubSpot showing that there are 10.3 billion searches on Google each month; one-third of U.S. consumers spend at least three hours per day online; 9 out of 10 internet users visited a social networking monthly last year; more than half of all internet users read blogs at least monthly; and many more fascinating and useful statistics.

Marketers: Content Sharing Fuels Social-Media Boom by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley delves into the differing social media habits of men and women. “While women outnumber men online — 53% vs. 47% — males are more likely to share digital media content — 51% vs. 49%.” Men are more likely to share information that they feel is important and helpful to others (such as how-to tutorials) while women are slightly more likely to share information about “common interests like politics, art and parenting.” One other interesting finding: “60% of content shared on social platforms includes a link to an external site.”

Study: Marketers Reporting Social Media ROI of 100, 200, Even 1,000 Percent by Forbes

Lisa ArthurLisa Arthur nets out research from MarketingSherpa showing that “the overall average social media ROI reported by CMOs who are measuring it is a whopping 95 percent. What’s more, nearly one-third (30 percent) of those in the survey reported a ROI of at least 150 percent!” Still, 54% of survey respondents identified “achieving or increasing measurable ROI from social marketing programs” as a top challenge, while 55% said the same for developing an effective social media strategy and 45% converting social media followers into paying customers. Most importantly, Lisa shares the study’s conclusion that “marketers who are new to social media tend to focus on “fast and easy” tactics…rather than on those that show a much higher level of effectiveness (blogger relations, SEO, e.g.). More advanced social media marketers work from a strategic plan and know that often the most difficult and time-consuming tactics are worth the extra effort because they are the most effective.”

What Marketers Can Learn from Consumers’ Sharing Habits by eMarketer

According to an AOL/Neilsen report, “93% of internet users turn to email to share content, while 89% use social networks and 82% use blogs.” Sharing habits differ based on the group being shared with, however, as “Social networks are the top method for sharing content with friends (92%)…In sharing online content with the general public, consumers prefer to use message boards (51%) or blogs (41%).” 60% of shared information contains links to published content (online publications, blogs, etc.); just 4% contains links to non-blog corporate website content.

Infographic: What the Largest Social Media Companies Are Worth by The Atlantic

Derek ThompsonIs there another tech bubble forming? Hard to say, but draw your own conclusion after taking a look at these possibly “over the top” valuations from Derek Thompson. Facebook was valued at $15 billion in 2007, but is expected to go public next year at a valuation of close to $100 billion. Valuation timelines and stats are also shown for Skype, delicious, Groupon, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Large Enterprise Social Media Research, Facts and Statistics

Inc. 500 Social Media Success by e-StratgyBlog.com

Stats guru David Erickson compiles figures for the popularity and year-over-year change of several social media marketing tactics among Inc. 500 companies. 93% now consider online message boards successful, while 86% say the same for blogging and 81% for Twitter; all figures similar to the previous year. Online video and Facebook increased in popularity while podcasting fell somewhat.

Fortune Global 100 Social-Media Savvy, Getting Savvier by MarketingProfs

According to research from Burson-Marsteller, 77% of Fortune Global 100 companies now have Twitter accounts (up from 65% in 2010), 61% are on Facebook (up from 54%), 57% have YouTube channels and 36% maintain blogs. Geographically, 83% of large companies in Europe are on Twitter, versus 72% in the U.S. and 67% in the Asia-Pacific region. However, Asic-Pac companies tend to be more engaged than their large firm counterparts elsewhere, as measured by average number of Twitter followers, Twitter @ mentions and Facebook page “likes.”

Most Fortune 50 Brands Still Hiding Their Social Media by AdAge Digital

BL OchmanThe delightful B.L. Ochman breaks the news that “Only 44% of the Fortune 50 have any social media icons on their home pages, and 60% hide their Twitter streams. Call Inspector Clouseau if you want to find the rest. Kind of amazing considering the prevalence of social buttons of all types all over the web.” Just 30% include a Facebook icon on their home pages, and only 4% provide a blog link there. Most of these companies do include their social media links somewhere on their websites, but these are often buried on “about,” “contact” or investor pages.

10 Reasons Brands Need a Social Media AOR by iMedia Connection

Avi SavarAsking, “now that social has crossed the chasm, do brands need a dedicated social media agency?,” Avi Savar answers “yes” and explains why. What’s most interesting here though are the statistics showing the disconnect between why companies think consumers follow them in social media and why consumers actually interact with brands through social networks. The biggest disconnect: consumers say that discounts and purchases are their top reasons, while businesses place these at the bottom of the pecking order. 64% of businesses believe consumers follow them to “feel connected” to the brand, and 61% say it is to be part of a community. Just 33% and 22%, respectively, of consumers say they follow brands for those reasons.

Small Business Search and Social Media Statistics, Facts and Research

Small Business Owners Still Don’t Get Search Marketing by MediaPost SearchBlog

Despite findings that show “56% of small businesses that plan to allocate marketing budgets toward search or social media advertising in 2011 admit they need help with some part of their campaigns,” nearly three-quarters try to manage their search campaigns internally, and more than one in five “have a staff member handling SEM in addition to other responsibilities,” (e.g. a non-specialist) reports Laurie Sullivan. In short, while small business owners increasingly understand the importance of digital marketing, most aren’t taking advantage of tools and outside expertise that could improve their results.

Social-Media Study Teasers Unveiled by InformationWeek SMB

Michele WarrenMichele Warren reveals that “the most widely used social media channel for small and midsize businesses are company pages on Facebook (and) SMBs are ditching e-mail marketing in favor of social media advertising.” According to research from the SMB Group, 32% of small businesses have Facebook pages though just 18% use free tools like TweetDeck and only 3% are utilizing fee-based social media tools.

Small Businesses Online Marketing [CHART] by eStrategy After Hours

The prolific David Erickson passes along stats from eMarketer showing that “More than a third (35%) of US small businesses reported using online social networking for marketing, up from 15% in fall 2009. In addition, 12% of respondents were using blogs as a social tactic, nearly double the figure from fall 2009.” Somewhat surprisingly, just 36% of small businesses said they are doing SEO on their websites, and only 17% are using paid search advertising. Over half (56%) say they don’t use social media.

Search and SEO Facts, Statistics and Research

20+ stats you might not know about user search behaviour by Econsultancy

Jake HirdJake Hird shares some interesting findings about web searchers, such as: 37% of people don’t know the difference between paid and organic search results (including 20% of 20-somethings). 20% of people say they click on paid search results “always” or “frequently;” 37% said “rarely” or “never.” 6% said they rarely or never click on organic search results (so why are they searching?!). 48% said that they click on a company or brand if it appears multiple times in the SERPs (which is why web presence optimization is so important) while 28% are more likely to click on results that include a video.” And contrary to results you may have seen elsewhere, “79% will go through multiple pages of results, if their query isn’t answered in the first page.”

The Value Of SEO [CHART] by eStrategy After Hours

How important is a (very) high ranking in the search results? Rounding these numbers from David Erickson, roughly one-third of clicks go to the top result in search; another third go to results two through five; and most of the remaining third click on results six through 20.

Google Click Distribution – How Important is Number One? by Internet Marketing Blog

A study from Cornell University found results different from David’s in the post above. According to this study, more than half of all clicks go to the top link on Google, and almost 90% go to the first five spots. Interestingly, being at #8 or #10 generates slightly more clicks than showing up at #7 or #9.

Search Behavior Shines Spotlight on Organic Results by eMarketer

eMarketer reports several interesting statistics from recent eye-tracking and click studies on Google and Bing. First, paid ads are 3-4 times as likely to be seen if they appear at the top of the organic results as opposed to the right side. Second, 81% of searches on Bing result in a click, versus just 66% on Google (Bing results are more relevant?). And third, “internet users were 22 percentage points less likely in 2010 to rely on search engines to find websites than they were in 2004,” due to both increasing sophistication of internet users as well as greater reliance on social media.

SERPs: The Benefits of Being No. 1 by MarketingProfs

Yet another study on clicks-by-search-rank, this one from Optify, concludes that the top spot in search generates 36% of all clicks, and the top three places combined account for 60%; but appearing at the top of page 2 is actually slightly more productive than being at the bottom of page 1. What’s most notable in these results, however, is the difference in performance of multi-word long-tail terms versus shorter head terms: for long-tail terms, being in the top spot in much less important, as click-throughs are higher in the lower spots on page 1. And in SEM, relatively low-cost long-tail terms (being more specific than head terms) generate significantly higher CTRs than expensive head terms.

SEMPO: Social PPC is Giving Google Adwords a Run for Its Money by MediaPost Search Insider

Rob GarnerRob Garner reports that “Facebook has rapidly become a top PPC advertising vehicle,” and that advertising on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube–while still small compared with search advertising–is growing rapidly. In addition, “Three-quarters (74%) of North American agencies say their clients run PPC campaigns on Facebook.  Three-fourths of companies (75%) use Twitter for brand promotion, and more than a quarter (27%) of companies now use LinkedIn specifically for PPC campaigns.” Note that these results are skewed toward larger enterprises and B2C advertisers. Social media advertising is still a relatively rare tactic among B2B vendors and in the SMB space.

Marketing Budget Trends, Statistics and Figures

Online gets bulk of increased marketing budgets by BtoB Magazine

Kate MaddoxKate Maddox reports that after two years of budget cutting, 52% of marketers planned increased spending for this year. Customer acquisition is the top goal (69%) followed distantly by increasing brand awareness (18%). 79% of marketers planned increased spending on online marketing this year, far more than for any other tactical area. Breaking that out, 71% planned higher spending on their websites, followed by 68% on email, 63% on social media, 57% on search and 51% on web video. 69% of b2b companies now say they are using social media for marketing.

Social Media Marketing Budgets by e-StrategyBlog.com

“In 2010, 53% of social media marketing budgets were spent on Facebook,” according to statistics compiled by David Erickson, while 8% was spent on games and apps and just 3% on Twitter. However, among the Global Fortune 100 firms, 65% use Twitter compared to 54% maintaining Facebook fan pages, 50% having YouTube channels and 33% writing blogs.

B2B Inbound Marketing: Top tactics for social media, SEO, PPC and optimization by MarketingSherpa Blog
***** 5 Stars

Adam T. SuttonAdam T. Sutton summarizes MarketingSherpa survey results showing that website design and optimization is the top budget priority this year, cited by 69% of respondents as an area of increasing investment. Social media is a very close second, followed by virtual events / webinars, SEO, email marketing and paid search. The post also identifies the most effective tactic in each area: for example, the top tactic in SEO is on-page content optimization, while blogging is the most effective social media tactic.

‘Advanced’ Companies’ Spend On Social Media, Nets by MediaPost Online Media Daily

What separates the cutting-edge companies in social media use from other businesses? According to Mark Walsh, reporting on research from Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group, “they have formalized programs, dedicated teams, line-item budgets, and have been at it for more than two-and-a-half years,” among other characteristics. Budgets are a major factor: advanced companies spend nearly twice as much as their more average counterparts on social media generally, and almost 70% more on social-marketing teams specifically.

Other Marketing Research and Statistics

Who Do You Trust? Industry Analysts Reign Supreme by IT Marketing World

Tom PiselloTom Pisello shares findings from SiriusDecisions research showing that industry analysts are viewed as the most trusted source of information by buyers during the B2B IT buying cycle, followed closely by peers. Vendors are viewed as the least credible source (ouch!). However, the “most-trusted sources” vary by stage of the buying cycle. In addition, the study found that “The most favored sources of content during the early stages of IT decision-making are white papers (64.4%), peer referrals (51.1%), webinars (48.9%), trials or demos (42.2%) and analyst reports (37.8%).”

12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know by HubSpot

Marta KaganMarta Kagan shares a dozen interesting marketing stats, among them: “78% of Internet users conduct product research online,” (seems low). A similar number check email on their mobile devices. Blogging is really important–57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog, and businesses with blogs generate 55% higher web traffic. And my favorite: “200 Million Americans have registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. That’s 2/3 of the country’s citizens. The other 1/3, I’m guessing, probably don’t have a home phone anymore.”

Is Working From Home Becoming the Norm? [SURVEY] by Mashable Business

Jolie O’Dell brings to light some interesting findings on the state of working from home today, such as: 62% of businesses now allow at least part-time remote work (this varies by business size, with 77% of the largest organizations permitting this). The ability to work from home is rated by employees as the third-most important determinant of job satisfaction. And 56% of decision makers believe that remote workers are more productive.

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5 Responses

  1. No doubt social media sites boom the online market. Today social sites are most traffic generated sites in world. Most of young people (of any age) are used these social sites in their free time like, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn etc. Now social sites are essence of online industry. Why? Every firm or company (whether it is online or offline) wants more audience for the promotion of their product. I think social sites are best way to express thoughts and share thing with customers. Which helps to get closer your customer with you and build trust between seller and buyer?

  2. Being social helps to stay in touch with customers.

  3. Great resources. I’m addicted to social media monitoring because of my job and I found this page very very intetrsting. We use http://www.socialwatching.com as a primary resource of social media monitoring and news.google.com


  4. Tom 

    Thanks Myke! Glad you found the info helpful.


  5. Worli 

    One of the problems with social media marketing is that the people who use social network sites are in them because of their desire to connect with friends who may be friends or “friends” in the site whom they have never met, and family. What there is in these social network sites is a desire for communication with others, which is where cunning online marketers can find a way to sell their goods and services. What is needed in selling in social network sites is the personal touch

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