Report: 2013 New Business Social Media Survey

new business social media agency survey

Almost 70% of agencies surveyed believe that social media is great for new business and 81% believe it to be an efficient tool for networking. 

A survey was sent to advertising, digital, media and public relations executives  to assess their attitudes toward social media, where they are finding success, what tools they use and where they continue to struggle.

Most agencies sat on the sidelines during the rapid rise of social media and didn’t really participate until around 2010. When it was evident to them that social media wasn’t a fad, they finally relented and jumped-in. Unfortunately, when they began to participate, their only aim was to show that they had a presence. Most had no clear objective beyond this. They also had no definable target audience. Instead of building value, they used the channel to continue to talk about themselves.

No goal, no target audience, no appeal, no online traffic and thus no new business.

I believe we’re starting to see the tide turning and as this communication channel begins to mature and agencies better understand its potential and how to use it for themselves. I’m hearing from a lot more agencies that are having success for new business.

As I was writing this report, I received an email from a client on the East Coast, an agency located across the Hudson River in New Jersey.  He was excited to let me know they had received their first new business opportunity using social media. The prospective client company is on the West Coast, 2800 miles away! Appeal and positioning were created through their niche blog which focuses content helps simplify intelligent systems marketing. An integrated social media strategy was implemented to build content, traffic and a prospective client community expeditiously.

Also today, I received an invitation to conduct a semianr for an agency network in Hong Kong which is 8,330 miles from my homebase in Alabaster, Alabama. The opportunity came primarily through my niched blog, which focuses on helpful information on how to use social media for agency new business. Last year I was invited to conduct workshops, seminars and other speaking engagements in 43 cities including Toronoto, Vancouver and Calgary Canada and my second workshop in London. All came through my personal new business | social media program.

I hope the following report from my recent survey will provide your agency with insights and helps you to tap into the potential of social media to make your new business easier.

The 2013 New Business Survey was sent by e-mail and made available by link online, to small to midsize agencies  on January 2, 2013. The survey closed, January 16.  There were 255 respondents who completed the entire survey.  This isn’t a scientific study, but it does however provide an indication of their beliefs, feelings and perceptions regarding agency new business and social media trends for 2013.

To encourage candor, this was a blindfold survey. Respondents were assured their names would not be a part of the report.

Executive Summary

The 2013 survey indicates that agencies better understand the potential of social media to create real business opportunities, but still need help with managing their time commitment, building a community of prospects, lead generation and balancing how to market their agencies through this channel.

Here are some of the important insights as to the state of agencies growing involvement with social media, their struggles and successes.

  • 53.2% of respondents of this survey were from traditional agencies and the majority of responders, 40.6%, were agency owners or partners.
  • Over 41.5% of respondents are spending from 0-5 hours per week on social media for new business and 43.4% spend upwards from 6 to 15 hours per week.
  • The top 5 tools agencies used to generate leads were: 1. LinkedIn (17.7%) 2. Email (16.1%) 3. Blogging (10.4%) 4. Twitter (10.2%) 5. SEO (8.8%).
  • Less than half (40.2%) of the responding agencies have a written strategy for new business.
  • Analytics is used to improve the new business | social media efforts by over half of the responders (57.7%).
  • 39.5% of responders believe that cold calling is still a viable new business tactic.
  • Most of the agencies seem to have a better understanding of how to use LinkedIn and Twitter for new business than they do with Facebook and Google Plus.
  • 86.2% of agencies that responded believe that content marketing is now an important part of an agency’s new business efforts.
  • A large majority of agencies (81.5%) indicated that social media is efficient for networking, has enhanced awareness for their agency (71.8%) and has broadened their market (60.7%).
  • The top 4 areas of social media where respondents plan to greatly increase their participation this year are: 1. LinkedIn (77.4%) 2. Blogging (73.1%) 3. Twitter (62.5%) 4. YouTube (61.4%).
  • The 5 social media tools that responders tend use the most are: 1. Hootsuite (13.9%) 2. Email service provider (13.4%) 3. Instagram (12.3%) 4. Slideshare (11.5%) and 5. TweetDeck (11.4%).
  • Among responders, LinkedIn is by far their favorite social media platform for new business. A distant second is their blog.
  • A little more than half of the agencies (51%) have had a blog for less than 2 years the rest have had a blog 3 years or longer.

Survey Responses

1. Please select a category that best describes  your agency?


*The answers for “Others ” included: branding agency, direct marketing agency, entertainment marketing agency and marketing agency

2. What is your position at the agency?

ad agency owners

*The answers for “Other” included: Account Supervisor, Art Director, Chief Creative Officer, Chief Performance Officer, COO, Creative Director, Digital Strategist, Director of Communications, Director of Interactive, EVP, Media Buyer, Marketing Manager, Media Director, Media Strategist, Operations Management, Public Relations Director, Senior Account Manager, Social Media Director, and VP

3. How many hours per week would you say you spend on social media for new business?

time spent using social media

4. In 2012 my agency generated new business leads from the following: (check all that apply)

how generated new business leads

5. Please rank the following as they pertain to your agency’s new business:

social media and new business

6. In 2013 my social media activities for the following will:

survey social media activities

7. Which of the following social media tools do you use? (check all that apply)

survey social media activities

8. The most important social media tool that I use for new business is:

  • An overwhelming majority chose LinkedIn (85) followed by a Blog (26) and Twitter (23).

9.The most difficultly I have using social media for new business is:

survey difficulty using social media

10. How long has your agency had a blog?

survey how long has your agency had a blog?

Are you having more success using social media for new business? Please feel free to share your story in the comment section below.

Here are some additional post articles regarding social media for agency new business that you may find helpful:

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. As always, good info Michael. Thanks for sharing the data.

  2. Thank you Peter! I hope you are doing well.

  3. Really useful as ever Michael – the results would be even poorer I think if you ran this survey in the UK. Main problem has always been a lack of positioning leading to no social media strategy.

  4. Thanks Charlie. I have the same impression working with a number of UK agencies over the past couple of years.

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