Real-Time Marketing Grows in Importance as Social Analytics Improve - eMarketer

Newsletters Sign-Up

Plans & Pricing

Does My Company Subscribe?

Real-Time Marketing Grows in Importance as Social Analytics Improve

Marketers know the value of social data but interpretation remains a challenge

February 13, 2013

The age of real-time marketing is nigh, according to a new report by eMarketer.

Marketers are already well-versed in analyzing social media sentiment for clues to brand health, and most have the capability to respond to comments and complaints on social media.

But more are now tapping the services of social analytics vendors, digital agencies and PR firms to also use social data for a variety of outbound marketing activities, according to the new eMarketer report, “Meeting the Need for Speed: How Social Analytics Support Real-Time Marketing.”

Use of Real-Time Data in Marketing Campaigns in 2013 According to Marketers Worldwide (% of respondents)

An already well-cited example came when a power outage disrupted Super Bowl XLVII, and brands ranging from Oreo to Tide to Calvin Klein took to social media to deliver catchy responses to the unusual situation.

However, this form of marketing goes far beyond simply posting a timely tweet or status update. In this report, Cisco, Dell, Discovery Communications, H&R Block, McDonald’s, SAP, Sprint Nextel and other businesses share how they are expanding their use of social analytics to do much more. They are rapidly creating content that drives more response and engagement, making on-the-fly changes to marketing plans and developing marketing initiatives around topics and events that are trending on social media. Some marketers are also using real-time social data for strategic business decisions, such as product development.

In a 2012 survey conducted by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive, 53% of marketers worldwide said they planned to make greater use of real-time data in 2013.

In addition, 80% of surveyed marketers said they planned to use social media data in their broader marketing efforts.

“The brands that listen in real time and take advantage of that information to either readjust their campaigns or respond to commentary or customer service issues are the brands that are being successful in social,” said Gordon Evans,’s vice president of product marketing for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

As effective as social data can be, however, a variety of factors hold marketers back from effectively using it in their business, including lack of tracking capabilities and organizational silos.

Factors that Prevent Their Companies/Clients from Collecting Social Media Data as Effectively as They Would Like According to Companies* and Agencies Worldwide, Aug 2012 (% of respondents)

The chasm between how marketers view the value of social data and their ability to use it is wide.

Marketers must walk before they run; as tempting as it is to explore real-time engagement, they need to have a solid social analytics infrastructure in place first.

eMarketer collected, compared and analyzed dozens of research surveys and other data sets, as well as insights from interviews with industry executives, to help marketers answer key questions such as:

  • What is real-time marketing, and how have social analytics evolved to support it?
  • How are marketers using social analytics insights for their real-time marketing efforts?
  • What steps can businesses take to effectively use social analytics in a fast-paced marketing environment?

The report also outlines several marketing activities that social analytics can support in real time: content marketing, optimizing ad messages or media strategy, aligning marketing with trending topics, engaging audiences during company events and making strategic business decisions.

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other articles, “For Email, Users Reach for the iPad” and “Argentina Leads Digital Buyer Penetration in Latin America.”


  • Go beyond the articles:

    eMarketer Products

    You've never experienced research like this.

  • Hear from our clients:

    Customer Stories

    Nearly all Fortune 500 companies rely on us.

  • Want to learn more?

    Contact Us

    Inquire about corporate subscriptions today.