12 Key Findings From The 2020 Sprout Social Index

I love a good research survey and the 2020 Sprout Social Index is packed full of insights for social media marketers. I’ve delved into the report to highlight 12 key findings worth noting.

With the insights from this report, marketers can do more than achieve their goals — they can transform social into a significant growth engine for their brands. — Sprout Social

12 Key Findings

1. Brand awareness is the #1 top goal for social media

Brand awareness remains a top priority with 69 percent of social marketers citing brand awareness as their number one goal for social media.

2. How marketers use social data

Fifty-six percent of social marketers use social data primarily for understanding their target audiences and 49% use data to inform their creative content. Surprisingly, only 23% of social marketers use social data to measure ROI and less than one-fifth use data for competitive insights.

3. Social marketers’ greatest challenges

Using social data to understand consumers can help social marketers solve their biggest challenge: identifying and reaching their target audience. Social marketers also struggle to measure ROI and support overall business goals — but social data can help. Using data from social, marketers can directly track the impact a social campaign has on consumer purchases and even glean aggregate consumer insights that are beneficial to teams like product development and sales.

4. 68%of consumers and 74% of marketers plan to use Facebook more in the coming year

The majority of both social marketers (74%) and consumers (68%) said they planned to use Facebook more in the coming year; additionally, 53% of social marketers and 34% of consumers plan on using Twitter more. As social marketers target younger audiences, they need to keep an eye on the change in platform usage. Facebook reigns supreme with Millennials and older, but members of Generation Z prefer YouTube (87%) and Instagram (85%).

5. How consumers find new accounts to like and follow

Forty-five percent of consumers rely on suggestions in their feed and/or use discovery tools to find new accounts. But for members of Generation Z, half will find new accounts by looking to the influencers they already like and follow. For Generation X, the number one way they discover new accounts to follow comes from recommendations from family and friends.

6. Why consumers follow brands on social media

When it comes to connecting with brands, 57% of consumers will follow a brand on social media to learn about new products and services. Forty-seven percent follow brands to stay up to date on company news, while 40% want to learn about promotions and discounts.

7. Why consumers unfollow brands on social media

On the flip side, consumers will unfollow brands on social media because of poor quality of products and subpar customer service, two factors often outside of a social media manager’s control. A closer look at the social data may reveal what specifically customers don’t like about a certain product, or where the customer service process is breaking down, and social marketers can share these insights with the responsible teams for further action.

8. The types of content consumers want to engage with

No surprises here when it comes to the types of content consumers want to engage with, 68% say they prefer to interact with images while 50% like to engage with video content.

9. Why consumers message a brand on social media

Beyond engaging with content, more than half of consumers (59%) will message a brand after a great experience, while 37% will reach out in regards to a customer service issue.

10. What makes a brand’s social best in class

When asked what diferentiates stand-out brands from their peers on social media, 61% of consumers believe brands that engage with their audience are best in class. But while marketers prioritize memorable content (46%) and compelling storytelling (45%), consumers are focused on transparency (45%) and strong customer service (44%). If social marketers want to ensure their brands are considered best in class, they may want to be more transparent and responsive on social media.

11. Social response rates by industry

Forty-four percent of consumers also say customer service distinguishes a brand from its peers. Average brand response rates by industry reveal that legal and real estate businesses have the highest average response rate (29%) while sports have the lowest (7%). How quickly a brand responds on social media is equally important. Forty percent of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.

12. Trends for 2020

While most industries could stand to improve their response rates, another way to improve social performance is to stay ahead of consumer trends. When asked what trends they want to see brands use more of, 43% of consumers want to see more Stories while 40% want more live video. And marketers are ready — these are the top two trends they plan on trying or testing in 2020.


The survey concludes with the observation that today’s social marketers are still just scratching the surface of what they can do with social media. “As they continue to hone their skills, increase their focus on creativity and embrace social data, social marketers will begin to see the impact their strategies can have on a business’ bottom line. Because social media is a true growth engine for any business. And when social marketers unlock the full potential of the social data at their fingertips, they’ll do more than meet their goals for social media — they’ll go above and beyond.”

Want a deeper dive?

Download the report in full from Sprout Social

Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller. https://hcsmmonitor.com

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