Social Media Marketing Update: Preferred Platforms and Content Types in 2021

June 23, 2021

SocialMediaExaminer Platform Usage Trends June2021Some 3 in 10 global marketers say they plan to at least maintain their usage of TikTok in the next 12 months, per the latest annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. The survey of more than 4,300 marketers from around the world offers some insights into which social media platforms content marketers prefer. Here’s a look at what it reveals.

Before proceeding, it’s important to point out that the majority (64%) of respondents are from small businesses (1-10 employees), so this report does not necessarily reflect the activities of larger enterprise businesses.

Most Popular Platforms

Although US data shows that Facebook engagement among teens continues to decrease, it remains popular with adults. It also continues to be popular with social media marketers. More than 9 in 10 (93%) report using the platform, making it the most used platform by marketers.

Instagram is the second-most used platform — used by 78% of respondents, up slightly from 76% last year. A majority of marketers surveyed are also using LinkedIn (61%) and YouTube (61%). And, while Twitter has decreased in usage from 52% in 2020 to 48% this year, TikTok has increased (up from 5% in 2020 to 9% in 2021).

Looking at how platform usage differs among B2C and B2B marketers, as expected LinkedIn is more of a favorite with B2B marketers than B2C marketers (81% vs. 53%). On the other hand, B2C marketers are more apt to use Facebook (96% vs. 89%) and Instagram (83% vs. 72%).

These differences can also be seen in marketers’ most important platform. More than 6 in 10 (63% of) B2C marketers consider Facebook to be their most important platform (of 6 options provided), with Instagram in the #2 spot at 24%. Among B2B marketers, Facebook (40%) leads LinkedIn (35%), but the gap between the two is narrow.

Social Media Benefits

Although there are some marketers who feel that social media is one of the most difficult channels to attribute revenue to, it clearly has numerous benefits to the marketers surveyed. About 9 in 10 (88%) say that social media increases exposure for their business, while 8 in 10 (79%) report increased traffic from social media marketing.

Other benefits cited by marketers include lead generation (69%), development of loyal fans (61%), improvement in sales (60%) and growth in business partners (50%). While these secondary benefits remained flat compared to 2020’s survey, there was a jump in those who cited provided marketplace insights as a benefit (56%, up from 49%).

The level of experience with social media appears to play a role in the benefits enjoyed by respondents. More experienced social media marketers (those who have been using social for more than 2 years) are more likely to agree that they are seeing improved sales and leads from their activities.

Platform Usage Trends

Although Facebook has held onto its place as the most important social media platform among marketers, Instagram is the platform for which the largest proportion of marketers will maintain or increase their organic efforts, with 87% planning to do so on the platform over the next year. Some 84% plan to maintain or increase activity on Facebook, while 83% plan to do so on YouTube.

Data from Conviva shows that some big-name brands have been increasing their use of TikTok. Indeed, Social Media Examiner’s survey found that 30% of respondents plan to increase or maintain activity on the video-sharing app in the next 12 months, including 21% planning to increase their efforts. This is up from the 11% who said they planned to increase their activities on TikTok last year.

Paid Social Media

As in years past, Facebook is still the leader in paid social media. Some 6 in 10 (61% of) respondents consider it the most valuable social ad platform, followed distantly by Instagram ads (11%) and LinkedIn Ads (7%).

Three-quarters of respondents say they use Facebook ads either often (34%) or sometimes (41%). The next most-used paid social platform is Instagram — used by more than half of respondents often (25%) or sometimes (30%). By comparison, noticeably fewer are using YouTube ads (39%) and LinkedIn ads (38%) at least sometimes.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of 4,394 marketers, the majority of whom work for small businesses (1-10 employees). Close to two-thirds (65%) focus primarily on B2C marketing and about half (51%) are based in the US.

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