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Marketers at large brands are increasingly devoting a significant number of staff positions to social media: 46.5% of companies with revenues of more than $1 billion now have 50 or more employees devoted to social, according to a recent survey from Wildfire by Google and AdAge.

These large companies are also more likely to call on extra help: 65.5% have agencies as well as in-house resources managing their social activities.

This picture is quite different at smaller companies. Businesses with revenues of less than $1 billion a year most likely have one to five employees dedicated to social, and just 37.6% hire outside agencies.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 500 executives from large companies.


  • 45.6% of respondents expect their social media spending to increase up to 10% in the coming budgetary cycle, and 15.9% expect an increase of 11% to 30%.
  • Only 29.1% of respondents have a distinct budget for social. The rest are pulling spending from various areas, including traditional media, with 23.9% of budgets coming from print, television, and radio.
  • Companies are equally likely to put social media spending under general brand marketing or digital media budgets.
  • Among industry categories, retailers are more likely to have already developed distinct social media budgets, followed by technology and media and entertainment companies.


  • Tracking content shares is currently the top metric for measuring the impact of social media initiatives, with 58.4% of respondents saying it is important or very important.
  • The number of social followers is second, with 55.8% saying this metric is important or very important.
  • For retail focused companies, metrics tied to ROI are seen as far more important than for marketers in general.

Top Concerns

  • Marketers' top social media worry is how to maintain high levels of audience engagement.
  • Finding ways to effectively measure social initiatives is the next biggest concern, and maintaining brand consistency is third.
  • The lowest-ranked concern is brand damage due to negative postings.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 500 executives from large companies with some functional responsibility related to social. Just over half (50.7%) of respondents work for businesses with $1 billion or more in annual revenues.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji