As many as 80% of business leaders predict that their company's social media budget will increase over the next three years, revealed a research report by Sprout Social, conducted by The Harris Poll. Furthermore, 93% of respondents believe that social media data and insights will play a crucial role as a primary source of business intelligence going forward.
The 2023 State of Social Media: AI & Data Take Center Stage highlights that nearly all executives recognize the value of social media data in driving important business decisions across various departments. Interestingly, among those expecting a budget increase, 44% anticipate a surge of over 50% in their social media budget, despite prevailing macroeconomic conditions placing pressure on overall organizational budgets.
“It’s encouraging to see the extent to which business leaders now understand social’s ability to influence every aspect of their organization, and the resulting investments being made in social will catapult brands into their next phase of growth. With frontline access to the most impactful data and insights available, marketers have the opportunity to not only educate their organizations, but to drive foundational change. By giving every department access to the latest social intelligence, marketers can lead their business strategies while ensuring their organization stays ahead of the competition,” said Jamie Gilpin, CMO of Sprout Social.
Leveraging AI for long-term success
The potential of AI in business and marketing is widely recognized, with 86% of business leaders agreeing that the integration of AI and ML is crucial for long-term success. They specifically identify various valuable applications of AI/ML in marketing, including behavioral segmentation (49%), predictive analytics (45%), dynamic pricing (45%), and sentiment analysis (44%). This highlights the consensus among business leaders when it comes to the significance of AI and ML in driving effective marketing strategies and achieving sustainable success.
The paramount importance of social media
Business leaders understand the value of social media data and utilize it in various ways, yet they believe it is still underutilized. According to the survey, 70% of business leaders find it easy to demonstrate the impact of social media on their company's financial performance. However, an almost equal amount of respondents (69%) believe that social media data and insights are not fully utilized within their organizations. Currently, business leaders primarily rely on social media data to inform aspects such as customer service (62%), brand awareness (60%), and market or industry insights (53%) as integral components of their company's overall business strategy. This indicates that while social media's impact is acknowledged, there is still room for businesses to harness its full potential across a wider range of areas.
The survey also reveals that most respondents agree that social media plays a critical role in delivering exceptional customer care (88%) and retaining customers (88%).
Moreover, an overwhelming 96% of business leaders believe that social media is crucial for capturing customer sentiment and feedback regarding products or services.
Looking ahead, nearly all surveyed business leaders (96%) anticipate integrating social data into their company's customer relationship management capabilities within the next three years. Furthermore, 93% believe that increased investment in AI/ML will be essential for scaling customer care functions during that time period.