BY Sergio Balegno (Senior Analyst with the MarketingSherpa Research Group)

On average, about 80% of marketers are integrating social media with other communications tactics. But clients and their agencies disagree on whether social media is being integrated into the mix with both online and offline tactics.

Social Media Benchmark

This chart shows the response we received from 1886 agencies and client-side marketers when asked if they integrate social media with other communications tactics.

We found that, while agencies and their clients are aligned on the integration of social media with other online tactics, marketing and PR professionals who work at an agency or consultancy are far more likely than those who work at a client-side company to integrate social media with both online and offline tactics – 38% to 22%, respectively.

It’s no surprise that nearly half of all marketers combine social media with other online tactics because integration is often accomplished simply by adding a link. Integration can initiate the movement of a vast community of prospects through the pipeline from initial social-media engagement to lead capture and qualification to sales conversion.

Tracking these prospects through each stage of the buying cycle and reporting on performance metrics may also be automated, making social media integration very appealing to agencies and client-side marketers that are being required to be more accountable for marketing programs than ever before.

Client-side marketers are more than twice as likely not to integrate social media into the marketing mix. This may be directly related to the most common barrier to social media adoption mentioned by client-side companies – the “lack of knowledgeable staff”.

The percentage of marketers who do not integrate social media (20%) is likely to decrease further as they become more proficient in online tactics, and the ease of social media integration becomes more apparent.