Nearly nine in 10 US companies with at least 100 employees will use social networks for marketing activities this year, eMarketer estimates. With so many companies tapping social networks to build brand awareness, gain new customers and keep current ones loyal, how much room is left for growth?
By the end of 2013, eMarketer forecasts, the share of companies using social networks will nudge 3 points upward, only to make a further 1-percentage-point gain in 2014. These tiny changes compare with 15- and 9-point increases seen in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Use of social media sites for social networking—a somewhat broader category that adds services like YouTube to the mix, where creating a profile and interacting via status updates are not the main draw—is slightly more prevalent, at 89% of marketers this year. The most popular site for such activities is, unsurprisingly, Facebook, with 83% of all companies expected to use the site for marketing this year. Twitter is in a fairly distant second place, at 53%, but is expected to grow more robustly to 64% of marketers by 2014.
YouTube will continue to trail other sites in its popularity among marketers, primarily because of its greater appeal to specific industries where video can do the most to show off products. Still, by 2014, more than two-fifths of companies included in the forecast will be using the video-sharing site for marketing purposes.
eMarketer forms its estimates of marketers using social media sites based on the analysis of survey and tracking data from various research firms; industry-specific adoption trends of social network marketing tools; and consumer social network adoption trends.