40 Social Media Stats for Brands and Marketers

If you have ever run a successful marketing campaign, you already know that effective marketing is both art and science. We write a lot about how to run successful influencer marketing campaigns, and about what to do when you’re running one. After all, that is our business. What you may not realize is all of what we teach, practice, and help our clients to accomplish is fueled by numbers. So, let’s take a look at the numbers.


I spend hours every day studying social media marketing and social media trends. I subscribe to marketing newsletters. I watch videos on social media marketing. I stream keynotes and fireside chats. I have swipe files that contain screenshots of email copy that worked on me and screenshots of cool ideas that I spot online. I even watch commercials as a marketer.

That’s my thing. But it may not be your thing. So, I’m going into the vault to find and share with you the most valuable, interesting, and pivotal social media marketing insights I’ve gleaned over the past six months. These are marketing stats you can use to target your audience faster, make a greater impact on them, and ultimately make your marketing efforts more profitable.


1. Mobile has finally overtaken PCs as the primary way we access the Internet globally.

By the end of 2016, mobile phones and tablets accounted for 51.3% of Internet usage worldwide, according to GS Stat Counter. Google warned us, didn’t they?


2. Influencer Marketing is gaining more traction as an effective (and popular) marketing tactic.

In the last five years, content marketing (creating and sharing videos, blogs, images, and social posts online to drum up interest in a brand) has consistently grown in popularity as an effective marketing strategy. In the same way, influencer marketing has also gained popularity. Google search frequency of the term “influencer marketing” increased significantly between Q1 2015 and Q1 2017. About half of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2017.



3. My Millennial daughter and about 70 million other Americans use ad blockers, and it may be about to get worse.


A quarter of online consumers use ad blockers. That’s because 91% of people think ads are more intrusive than they were a few years ago, and 81% are willing to completely close a window or tab to escape a pop-up ad.

In 2016, nearly 70 million Americans were using ad blockers and that number is expected to surpass 85 million by the end of 2017. Researchers at Princeton and Stanford University have also developed what is being called the Mother of all AdBlockers, which is said to be a direct threat to online publishers, who will not be able to circumvent this particular piece of software.


4. More than two-thirds of us use some form of social media.

In 2005, Pew Research reported only 5% of Americans were using any social media platform. Today, that number is closer to 70% of us.



5. Native ads and influencer marketing may be brands’ saving grace against the ad-blocking war.

With it being harder and harder to distinguish branded content from all the content around it, native advertising and influencer marketing may end up being the most effective ways for brands to get their products in front of consumers.


6. When it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram micro influencers - not top influencers - are usually the way to go.

As the number of followers increases, the level of engagement decreases. That was the finding reported by Digiday. Micro influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers saw about 8% engagement per post, compared with micro influencers with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, whose posts saw, on average, 4% engagement.



7. Most micro influencers prefer Instagram.

According to Bloglovin, 80% of micro-influencers post original content to Instagram, 59% think Instagram is the most effective way to engage with their audience online, and 70% of micro influencer who have partnered with brands have used Instagram to carry out the influencer campaign.


8. Boomers and Mature Gen Xers show the greatest jump in social media use.

Across every segment of the population, there has been a double-digit increase in the amount of time American adults are spending on social media platforms. The greatest jump has been amongst adults 50 years and older, who spent 64% more time on social media at the end of 2016 than they did in 2015.


9. Believe it or not, beauty products did not make it into the top 5 of products bought on the Internet.


While you probably expected apparel to be one of the top five online purchase categories, beauty products actually didn’t make it into the top five (or the top six). The top five online buying categories across for heavy social media users (those who use social media 3+ hours daily), medium social media users (1- 2 hours a day), and light social media users (less than an hour a day) are:

  1. Apparel and accessories

  2. Books

  3. Airline tickets / travel

  4. Movie tickets

  5. Home accessories

The order of the bottom three shifts between user segments, but the categories themselves remain the same.


10. Most brands now believe social media marketing is a non-negotiable part of their marketing strategies.

The 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report says 90% of marketers now say social media is important to their business. Facebook tops the list as the most important social network for marketers with 55% of marketers selecting the platform as their preference, followed by LinkedIn (18%), Twitter (12%) and YouTube (4%).


11. Social proof often carries as much weight as recommendations from trusted friends.

According to Bright Local, 88% of customers trust online reviews by strangers as much as they would recommendations from friends.


12. Quality may be the difference between micro influencers and top influencers.

The best micro influencers focus on content and engagement over reach. As well, the audience of a micro influencers (infuencers with fewer than 100,000 followers), tend to have more in common with the micro influencer than top influencers. Micro influencers are more relatable, which often translates to higher value engagements for marketers. They also care more about how a brand’s culture and philosophies fit with their own moreso than about the amount of money a brand is willing to pay them.


13. Instagram’s advertising power is growing.

In March of this year, Instagram announced it has reached an important milestone - one million active monthly advertisers. That’s a HUGE jump, from September 2016 when it announced reaching 500,000 active monthly advertisers.




14. More than one-third of social media users go on social platforms to find out about products and services.

Thirty-nine percent of heavy social media users log into social media networks to find out about products and services. Thirty-five percent of heavy social media users log into their social media accounts to get access to special discounts, codes, and promos. Sixty percent of people report learning about different products and services through social media.


15. More than just apparel and beauty, social media has the power to shape how people think about important social and political issues.

Twenty percent of social media users have admitted to changing their mind on hot button topics like racial issues, immigration, gay rights, and gun control after reading or seeing something on social media.

16. Less than half of all marketers think their Facebook marketing efforts are actually working.


While only 23% of marketers said website traffic from Facebook declined, only 46% say they feel like their Facebook marketing efforts are working on the world’s largest social platform. More than half of all Facebook marketers either don’t know if their marketing is working, or don’t think their marketing is working.




17. Most marketers don’t have metrics in place that can measure the success of their social media marketing efforts.

A whopping fifty-nine percent of marketers say they don’t know how to measure the ROI of their marketing efforts on any social network. Inability to measure ROI with social is nothing new. Some marketers have relegated social media marketing to being a tool for long-term brand-building, not necessarily facilitating transactions.


18. Most marketers spend about an hour a day on social media.

Sixty-three percent of marketers invest 6 hours or more a week on social media, and 39% of marketers spend 11 hours a week on social media.


19. The target customer plays a huge role in how marketers determine which social media platforms get their attention.

For B2B brands, LinkedIn is listed as the top pick for 40% of marketers, followed by Facebook (37%), and Twitter (15%). Sixty-six percent of B2C marketers choose Facebook as their top pick, followed by Twitter (11%) then LinkedIn (7%). More than a third of LinkedIn users pay monthly for premium accounts.


20. Young Millennials snap.


Despite the fact that most marketers (74%) have no plans to market on Snapchat, the platform reaches more than 40% of 18-34 year-old Americans daily. Surprisingly, more than half of US Millennials also report checking their Twitter feeds at least once a day. Coincidentally,  400 million snaps are shared per day on Snapchat. That’s about 9,000 pictures being shared every second.



21. US adults use their phones for social media.

Eighty-seven percent of US adults 18 and older access social media platforms using their smart phones. The percentage is highest (97%) for Millennials and lowest (77%) for those 50 years and over.


22. Women outpace men in their social media use.

In Q3 2016, women used social media more than men on multiple devices.

  • 75% of women (94.9M) accessed social media on their smartphones, compared with 70% of men (82M)

  • 43% of women (54.6M) accessed social media on their tablets, compared with 16% of men (19.4M)

  • 31% of women (39.1M) accessed social media on their PCs, compared with 26% of men (31.1M)

Women also spend more time on social media than men - 6h33m compared to 4h 23m.


23. Gary Vee was right. Pinterest folks are looking to buy.


Pinterest drives a quarter of the referral retail traffic to websites. That’s because Ninety-three percent of Pinterest users are using the platform to plan or make purchases, likely from one of the 146 million fashion boards that exist on the platform.



24. Influencer marketing isn’t as easy as it was even a year ago.

As influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity, it gets harder for marketers to put together a strong campaign. Seventy-three percent of marketers say it’s difficult even identifying an influencer with whom to work. Most marketers are tracking down influencers by conducting research manually (84%) or by getting recommendations from people within their sphere of influence (73%).


25. Marketers are planning to boost their budgets in 2017.

The number one hiccup for marketers looking to launch influencer campaigns is simply not having the money. Influencer campaigns can cost between $5,000 to upward of $100,000 per campaign, according to eMarketer. Thirty-nine percent of marketers list budgetary constraints as a primary reason for not pursuing an influencer marketing campaign. But more than half of the marketers polled were planing to increase their influencer marketing budgets for 2017.


26. It’s not just about the money for most social media influencers.


An influencer’s decision to pass on partnering with a brand is often about more than money. Although money was a dealbreaker for 11% of those polled, by and larger influencers were most focused on working with brands whose values aligned with their own. Forty-eight percent of influencers would pass on working with a brand whose values didn’t align with theirs. Ten percent would refuse the partnership if stringent guidelines prevented creativity. About 6.7% of influencers wouldn’t work with a brand if the content was too political, and 4.1% said micromanagement was a dealbreaker.


27. Most marketers are planning to use these four platforms more.

Marketers plan to increase their use of Facebook (67%), YouTube (63%), Twitter (61%), and LinkedIn (61%).     


28. Most marketers have no plans to include paid ads as part of their marketing strategy on these four platforms.

Slideshare offers advertising. Did you know that? I would venture a bet that most people don’t, which is why 83% of marketers have no plans to run paid ads on Slideshare. As well, 70% of marketers are skipping out on running Pinterest ads, 61% of marketers have no plans to run YouTube ads, and 59% said they have no plans to utilize paid ad networks on Instagram.


29. Facebook tops the list of networks on which marketers regularly use to run paid ads. By a long shot.


Eighty-seven percent of marketers plan to run paid ads on Facebook. The next closest paid ad network is Google ads at 39% followed by Twitter and LinkedIn ad, at 18% and 17% respectively. Only 1% of marketers regularly run paid ads on podcasts, and 2% find value in running paid ads on Slideshare.


30. Social media users spend more on online purchases than those who don’t use social media.

Spending online seems to be directly impacted by social media uses. After all, nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer. When it comes to online purchases, however, around 40% of social media users - whether light, medium, or heavy users - have spent $500 or more on an online purchase in the last 12 months, compared with just 22% of those who don’t use social media making a purchase of $500 or more. Twenty-five percent of light social media users have made purchases of $1,000 or more online in the last year compared with 12% of those who use no social media.


31. If you’re targeting Millennials, try YouTube.

YouTube reports having more than a billion users and reaches more 18-34 and 1-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States.


32. People use their phones to buy and to make buying decisions.

Mobile commerce now makes up about a third of all US commerce. Thirty-four percent of online retail purchases take place on a mobile device. As well, in-store shoppers check for products online using their phones before making the purchase in-store.


33. Ad spend is inching upward.

Digital marketing spending in the US is steadily increasing. Social media marketing ad spend is expected to top $13.5 billion in 2017 and surpass $15 billion in 2018. Search marketing ad spend is expected to surpass $36 billion in 2017 and climb to nearly $42 billion by the end of 2018.


34. Content marketing is still at the top of marketers’ list of the most effective strategies… even when they’re not focusing on social.

Thirty-eight percent of marketers said blogging is the single most important form of content for their business. An even greater percentage of B2B marketers chose blogging (49%) compared to B2C marketers (33%). Next in line was visual assets, which collected 37% of marketers’ votes as the preferred form of content for their business. Twenty-one percent of marketers chose video.


35. Experienced social media marketers spend more time on social than inexperienced social media marketers. Hmmm.

There is a direct correlation between the amount of time marketers have been using social media and the amount of time they invest per week into social media marketing. Most of the marketers with less than a year of experience as social media marketers spent 5 hours or less on social media during the week. However 64% of marketers with at least 2 years of social media marketing under their belts spent at least 6 hours a week on social media activities.


36. Investing in social media marketing ultimately pays off with greater brand awareness.


Despite the fact that a significant number of marketers report not knowing precisely how to measure the RIO of their social media marketing efforts, other marketers have seen measurable benefits as an outgrowth of the resources they’ve invested into social  media marketing strategies. Eighty-nine percent of the marketers who have been able to measure the marketing efforts report an increase in brand awareness as a primary benefit of social media marketing.


37. Investing in social media marketing ultimately pays off with new leads.

Seventy-five percent of marketers who have been able to see positive results as a result of social media marketing report an increase in website traffic as another important benefit of their efforts. Sixty-six percent use social media to mine market intelligence. By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 66%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.


38. Investing in social media marketing ultimately pays off with new business.

More than half of those who spend at least 11 hours a week on social media activities have earned new business as a result. More than half of the marketers investing at least six hours a week were able to build new partnerships. B2B marketers tend to outperform B2C marketers by just a few percentage points (60% vs 53%).


39. Investing in social media marketing ultimately pays off with more traffic.

Nearly 80% of marketers saw increased traffic with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media activities. A boost in search engine rankings were also reported among marketers who've been using social media for twelve months or more, with more than half reporting a rise.


40. Adults who use at least one social media platform tend to use multiple social media platforms.

With Facebook being the go-to social platform, you probably aren’t surprised to know that those who use other popular social media platforms typically use Facebook as well. For instance, 93% of Twitter users also have Facebook accounts, and 95% of Instagram users also have Facebook accounts. The same is true of Pinterest users (92%) and LinkedIn users (89%). The flip side is those who have Facebook accounts use the other social media platforms in much lower numbers. Onine 29% of Facebook users have Twitter accounts. Thirty-three percent of Facebook users also use LinkedIn. Only 36% of Facebook users also have Pinterest accounts and 39% of Facebook users have Instagram accounts.