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Most companies now look at social media as a key part of their marketing and overall business strategies, according to new research by Econsultancy and Adobe

66% of digital marketers surveyed working for companies with an annual turnover of more than £100m agreed that ‘social media is integral to business strategy’, while 67% said that social media activity was ‘integral to their marketing mix’.

Our Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Managing and Measuring Social looks at social media uses, challenges and needs from companies today. It is based on a survey of 650 marketing professionals. 

Here are a few highlights from the report...

How social is integral to business

While the majority of all respondents see social as an integral part of business strategy, there are still plenty of respondents at larger firms who have yet to see the light, as far as social is concerned. 

While just 9% of respondents from companies with a turnover lower than £100m disagree that social is integral to the marketing mix, that figure rises to 17% for enterprise-level firms. 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Client-side respondents)

The role of social

As the chart below shows, social is seen mainly as a brand awareness channel, though significant numbers are using social as part of their content marketing strategy and for customer service. 

However, though there are some success stories here, very few look at social as a sales channel. 

Top roles for social within the organisation (up to two options)

Social media objectives and measurement

The research, which coincides with the launch of Adobe Social, has also found that many companies are struggling to define objectives for their social activity and to measure success appropriately.

Only 28% of smaller companies and 42% of the larger companies surveyed said they measured their performance against defined social media objectives.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Client-side respondents)

The key to measuring social media is to track the ‘hard’ metrics, but also correlate performance with the over-arching business objectives. If the metrics you are looking at are not relevant to these objectives, then you are not measuring the impact of social but are rather quantifying activity.

While the majority of companies are measuring volume of traffic and engagement, far fewer are measuring hard metrics such as increases in leads generated or reduction in customer service calls. 

Graham Charlton

Published 6 September, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (11)

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Ben Acheson

It amazes me that so many brands still don't have a proper social media strategy.

Apart from anything else, Likes, Tweets, etc., offer free marketing! (What more do they want?!)

I recently wrote about this myself:


We're slowly catching up with the US in terms of SEO awareness and adoption. But in social media we're still far behind - even though the two are growing increasingly inseparable!

SEO has a direct, measurable impact on the bottom line. And social is increasingly a part of that.

If a brand is not part of the conversation your customers are having then frankly it is an unsociable dinosaur.

If that doesn't worry you then missing out on free marketing and additional revenue from online sales certainly should.

over 4 years ago


Nick Stamoulis

I'm surprised more people aren't using social media for customer service, because your customers certainly are! It's good to see, however, that social media is becoming such an accepted and integral part of overall business strategies.

over 4 years ago


Matt Bone, Head of Marketing at Hilco Capital

Just playing devil's advocate for a minute, Apple seem to be doing quite well for an unsociable dinosaur!

over 4 years ago



you deny or ignore the fact the social signals are going to play a huge roll in ranking factors in the near future.

over 4 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

@Chad. I agree about social signals being very important. There's a section on this in the third Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing published last December.


over 4 years ago


Antony Mayfield

Great post, Graham.

We're definitely seeing that social media marketing as it is becomes successful and is scaled in an organisation is becoming a driver for social in business strategy.

Hope you don't mind me mentioning this, but we're all Econsultancy members and its directly relevant to this piece:

We just published an account of how Nokia's doing scaling social and thinking about it in business strategy in a free paper: http://brilliantnoise.com/nokiapaper

We're also chatting about this at 1 pm today with Craig Hepburn, Nokia's global social media director - all welcome http://brilliantnoise-emea.eventbrite.co.uk/

We'll be sure to mention the Managing and Measuring Social Paper to attendees on the webinar too...

over 4 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Graham,

Thanks for sharing the data.

It's hard to draw concrete conclusions when the thresholds for the company size are so large.

For example:
"While just 9% of respondents from companies with a turnover lower than £100m disagree that social is integral to the marketing mix, that figure rises to 17% for enterprise-level firms."

In my experience, apart from the brand giants that really invest in and take social seriously as an integral part of their business, many large organisations have a silo approach and it is detached from the overall business/marketing plan. I have direct experience of this with energy companies & mobile/broadband service providers.

Many smaller businesses/brands are actually the ones taking it more seriously and often providing great case studies for how social can benefit the business. If you are a small, niche business without a strong brand reputation, social is a key channel for building a network of people and getting your name out there. You have to listen because if you pi** off customers, it seriously damages your business. Sometimes when a company is really big, the sheer scale of revenue masks inefficiencies and prevents problems being identified/tackled.

Therefore, I'm not surprised that the % for companies <£100m differ from those >£100m.

What do you think?


over 4 years ago


Find location for mobile number

I think you are absolutely right today so many companies promote their business in social media so that they promote their brand name also.

over 4 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

Hi James, I agree with your analysis here. As we indicate in the report, smaller companies have in some cases been able to steal a march on larger organisations because they don't have the same challenges around scalability and governance.

over 4 years ago

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

Nick in the earlier comments makes a great point:
"I'm surprised more people aren't using social media for customer service, because your customers certainly are!"

Regardless of social signals surly this is enough or a reason for online businesses to have a social presence. Why on earth wouldn't a business what to be where their customers are? It is common sense.

Too many businesses remain scared of getting involved. "What if customers come online and leave bad reviews", "We don't want people talking about us for all to see"...

This just opens more doors for companies to showcase their customer service skills.

over 4 years ago


Amanda Davie

If only 6% of those surveyed say that the role of Social Media in their business is to drive sales, then:

a) Can we really conclude that it is integral to a business strategy? And

b) No wonder so many marketing depts are struggling to get board-level buy-in and/or significant budgets to fully deploy and capitalise on their social media plans?

Until we can get the metrics in place to show the C-suites that Facebook drives sales revenues, and until social media strategists can communicate their successes in pure business terms (= revenue and profit), then these kinds of surveys' value to businesses will be limited.

over 4 years ago

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