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As marketers gear up for the fourth quarter, the busiest time on their marketing calendars, nearly two-thirds (63.4%) say they are planning to increase focus on social media over the next 12 months, while nearly one-half plan to increase focus on email (45.5%) and content marketing (45.3%), according to a new survey from Bizo.

Moreover, among those who conduct social marketing, most (97%) say social media is now more or equally important to the marketing mix than it was in the previous year.

Below, additional findings from Bizo's survey, which explores the priorities of marketing decision-makers and strategists over the next 12 months.

Over the next 12 months, more than two in five marketers (42.7%) plan to invest more in search, while roughly one-third (36.0%) plan to use more video:

Marketing Activities Reach Peak in Fall Season

Among marketers, the fourth quarter is the busiest time of the year across key marketing initiatives, including the following:

  • Planning: 46.2% of marketers say 4Q is the busiest season, but a good number cite 3Q (19.4%) and 1Q (15.2%).
  • Executing campaigns: 36.3% of marketers say 4Q is their busy season for campaign execution; 21.2% aren't sure, but 18.5% cite 2Q and 12.9% cite 3Q.
  • Closing sales: 32.5% say 4Q is their busiest season to close business, followed by deals that close in 2Q (29.2%) and 1Q (19.2%).

Social Media's Role in the Mix

More than two in five (40.8%) marketers say creating general awareness is social media's most important contribution to marketing, followed by reinforcement of other campaigns (26.8%) and lead generation (17.3%).

Looking for real, hard data that can help you match social media tools and tactics to your marketing goals? The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs, gives you the inside scoop on how 5,140 marketing pros are using social media to create winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences in new and exciting ways.

Measuring Social Marketing

Marketers are using a wide range of metrics to track social marketing.  Among those using social media, most track follower/fan numbers (54.8%), followed by actions taken by prospects (53.3%), page views (51.6%), and clicks (51.6%).

Only 14% of marketers have realized benefits from tracking or measuring business demographics of their social media audiences, according to the study. However 63% say they are just getting started—or are hoping to get started soon.

Display for Branding (and Lead Generation)

Among marketers who use display ads, 84% say display is as important or more important to their marketing mix this year versus last year.

Though many marketers think of display as a good branding opportunity, more are realizing the benefits of display for lead generation: 28% who use display ads do so for top of funnel awareness, 25% use it to drive specific actions (e.g., downloading whitepapers, webinar registration), and 23% use display for generating leads.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 520 strategic marketers across businesses (57%) and agencies (31%), conducted during the week of August 8, 2011. Some 94% of respondents play a role in determining overall marketing strategy for their company or clients, with 57% leading the strategy discussion. 

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