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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

The Sprout Social Index: 2023 State of Social Media Report

Audience Honor in Data Visualization


The idea that drove this work was to create an annual data report and resource for social media professionals to understand the current state of social, consumer preferences and expectations, and how to set their teams and strategies up for success. Using consumer and marketer data, the report reveals key takeaways for how to approach common challenges social marketers face—from proving the ROI of their efforts to staying ahead of trends and improving brand authority and trust.

Our goal was to increase awareness of the report, drive 7,500 net new leads and secure 30 target media placements.

This is our 18th edition of the Index, and we’re proud of the insights we collected that outline how social teams can expand their organizational impact and build campaigns that drive their businesses forward.

Strategy and Execution

Bringing the Index to life is a full marketing organization collaboration, from research planning to content development and distribution. 

Research Planning
We designed two quantitative surveys in house: one to capture consumers’ preferences when interacting with brands on social media, and the other to understand the most pressing challenges social media marketers face when it comes to content creation, performance measurement and adopting emerging technologies (like AI). We partnered with an outside research panel to secure over 1,800 consumer and over 900 marketer respondents from the US and UK, and analyzed the results internally.   

Content Development
With data collection complete, the next step was building a larger narrative for the core Index report and landing page. The theme of the 2023 Sprout Social Index became “Breakthrough,” alluding to marketers’ constant need to break through the growing noise on social media—and to the behaviors that the savviest marketers can adopt to maximize the impact of social on their brands. The report was built around five core sections, each featuring data and commentary provided by social media leaders from a variety of B2B and B2C brands:

  1. Consumers’ evolving expectations of brands on social 
  2. How brands are managing social customer care
  3. Marketers’ and consumers’ feelings toward the use of AI in social
  4. Trends in social media team structures
  5. Different ways marketers communicate the social-to-revenue pipeline to leadership

Sprout’s Content and Brand Creative teams worked closely to develop full-spread data visualizations that not only brought our findings to life, but integrated the numbers with the editorial copy in innovative ways (beyond traditional tables and bar charts). These visualizations were integrated in the final report, landing page and a customizable “companion deck” for marketers to lead social strategy workshops within their own teams, referencing our data.

The Index launched in mid-September 2023, which kicked off a two-phased distribution approach that would run through the end of the year. 


Our primary goal for the Index campaign was to drive top of funnel awareness, with a secondary goal of driving net new leads. We saw impressive results across our awareness metrics, which continue to grow as we expand promotion of this industry-critical resource into 2024.

The campaign garnered 1.9 million social impressions in total, and we surpassed our media placement goal by 103%, securing 17 million media impressions and receiving notable coverage in outlets like Business Insider, AdAge and Social Media Today.

For our secondary goal, we surpassed our net new leads goal by 103% and drove 7,700 net new leads (and counting), as well as over 18,000 downloads to our campaign components–which includes the core report and supporting assets like our toolkit and webinars. We’ve also seen leads become MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) over time, further indicating that we’ve targeted the right audience by creating hyper-relevant content. Our Index landing page drove 14,373 new users, and we saw a total of 26,322 users traffic to the site.


Video for The Sprout Social Index: 2023 State of Social Media Report

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Sprout Social


Entry Credits