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The majority of marketers agree that social media analytics is an essential business development tool, per a report from NetBase [download page], which surveyed more than 1,700 marketers, half of whom are from companies with more than $50 million in annual revenues.

While this year’s study sampled a much larger and geographically wider array of marketers than last year’s edition, the order of social analytics use cases remains the same in the results, led by community management and engagement and campaign strategy.

Roughly 7 in 10 respondents are using their social analytics data for community management and engagement, while about two-thirds use the data to inform campaign strategies. These leading uses seem to be working out, with a majority of respondents agreeing that social analytics make their campaigns more successful, despite a large proportion (30%) not knowing if they do. Also, survey participants report that “It helps you understand your audience and develop more effective content for them.”

In fact, just less than 6 in 10 respondents report that they are using social analytics for most or every campaign strategy planning session, with an additional one-fifth or so saying they use social analytics for some campaigns.

While community engagement and campaign strategy are the most common uses of social analytics data, reportedly because these were the original use cases for social analytics, marketers are also using social analytics in other ways. More than half (55%) of respondents also say that one of their primary uses of social analytics data is to improve social care.

Responding to Negative Comments Matters

Prior research by Sprout Social has shown that consumers want brands to respond to them on social media, whether it be liking a comment or responding to them. TELUS International also found that consumers often base their loyalty towards a brand on how quickly they respond to feedback on social media. This is especially the case with Millennials.

The impact of responding to negative comments quickly on social media is not lost on NetBase’s survey respondents. Some 72% agree that responding to negative comments in real-time is either mostly important or very important.

Despite the potential benefits of having the ability to predict and, perhaps, avoid a crisis, only about one-quarter of respondents say that one of their primary use cases for social analytics data is tracking crises in real-time.

What Channels Are A Must For Marketers?

It may not be too surprising that the top 3 most important social media channels for campaigns and engagement for the marketers surveyed are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. While other research has shown that marketers are either holding steady or increasing their usage of Facebook and Instagram, the same is not true for Twitter which has seen a decline in usage for the third year in a row.

That being said, while Pew Research reports that 22% of US adults use Twitter, the top 10% of those tweeters are very active, with the majority going on the platform at least daily.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The study surveyed 1,724 senior marketers across the globe to explore how they are using social media to move their business forward.

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