The state of social media marketing in 5 charts

The media world’s gone social, and social is going increasingly mobile. Look no further than the numbers.

A full two-thirds (64 percent) of people who use social tools say they log in at least once a day. Half (47 percent) of their tweets, snaps, pins and likes are happening on mobile, according Nielsen. Since social media’s inception, activity across all platforms has risen steadily: in 2013 one out of every four people across the globe could be reached via social, according to eMarketer.

But the platforms people prefer and how they interact on them has become a moving target — youth in particular seem determined to leave a platform if they perceive the creep of advertisers, or if their moms friend them. The bottom line is marketers have to stay on their toes to keep up with shifts in user behavior, changes in platform efficiency, Copyright flamewars, and so much more. Here, then, is the state of the social media landscape in five easy to read graphs.

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Growth overall in the sector has continued steadily, according to eMarketer, though the rate of change year over year is likely to decline by 4.5 percent this year alone. However, an estimated 2.6 billion people will be connected through social by 2017, meaning social will be a mainstay through the end of the decade at least.

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With more than a billion users, Facebook reaches so many of us it is hard to imagine a time when it won’t be relevant. On the smaller end, when new platforms like Vine emerge, quick-moving brands can take advantage of the land grab as Lowe’s and many others did. These tools funnel the masses into places where they’re easily reached, so it’s up to brands to go out and get them.


If you were confused by Facebook’s recent drop in organic reach, look no further than this graph. A market worth just over $3 billion in 2012 is projected to nearly quadruple by 2017. There isn’t a social network out there that wouldn’t want a chunk of that revenue, and with only a few mature players in the space it’s safe to assume that the big dogs, Facebook and Twitter, will be taking home the majority of it. Yet those dollars will have to come from somewhere, and whether it’s traditional or (non-social) digital budgets, whoever loses the money is aware the hit is coming.

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There was a time when advertising on social media was counter-intuitive. The benefit of social was that for very little investment, a company could reach customers. Spend is growing annually to the tune of $40 per person in 2015. Compare that to an average of $200 per person per year for TV and radio and social is still the better deal by a long shot.


When talking about social media, everyone wants to know how each platform ranks, and luckily Shopify pulled together this information. While Facebook is out in front, it’s clear that video platforms YouTube and Vimeo have a lot to say about selling stuff. And since their speciality is video, this should come as no surprise. However, video platforms don’t factor into the rest of the picture since the conversations there are fairly limited. While the traditional ad might feel dead to some, it’s paydirt to others — if it’s done right, online, where purchase paths can be easily tracked.

By now it’s no surprise that Facebook is a massive traffic driver behind 63 percent of all social ecommerce traffic (on the weekends, that drops by 10-15 percent). The platform’s recent video upgrade could help things along, if the conversion rates seen by Vimeo and YouTube translate.

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