Here’s a question for you: is the role of Chief Marketing Officer becoming more influential or more demanding? If you answered “both” then you’re correct. Why is that? Because today’s CMOs are responsible for navigating through the explosion of marketing technologies, the rise of customer empowerment brought on by social media, and the wave of big data in the form of analytics and metrics. On top of all that, they’re having to maintain their focus on building a market-leading brand to connect with an increasingly mobile-savvy target audience.

All in a day’s work, right?

So how are smart CMOs staying on top of this rapidly shifting landscape while crafting winning marketing campaigns? They’re embracing social media as a way to connect with their peers, discover marketing strategies and best practices, and become stronger leaders—all with the goal of doing their jobs better and smarter!  

With all this in mind, Neustar collaborated with social research firm Leadtail to examine how CMOs engage on social media. The result is our new report: Social Insights: CMO Edition. This report summarizes the Twitter activity of 1,034 North American marketing executives during the fourth quarter of 2014, based on an analysis of 131,697 tweets and 76,325 shared links. And the findings are, to say the least, insightful.

Key social insights about CMOs

Here are just a few of the many key takeaways from the report:

  • The CMO-CIO relationship is getting serious. CMOs are taking an active role in beefing up their tech chops, consuming more content traditionally targeted to IT readers.
  • LinkedIn has made significant inroads with marketing executives; cross posting of LinkedIn content to Twitter is up 200% over the past 24 months.
  • CMOs get most of their news and opinion reporting from a small number of sources, which creates both challenges and opportunities for upstart brands and thought leaders

What follows are other social insights gleaned from the report including where CMOs are engaging on social media, what content they read and share, and who influences them.

Which social networks are most popular with CMOs?

One of the report’s findings is that CMOs participate in a number of social networks, many of which cross-post to Twitter. For instance, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook made up 48%, 35%, and 15% of the period’s Twitter activity, respectively.

Clearly, companies targeting CMOs must think beyond Twitter and LinkedIn if they want more opportunities to reach and engage marketing executives using social media.

What kinds of content do CMOs share on Twitter?

Mainstream media sites represented 47% of the content shared by marketing leaders, with the vast majority comprising news, business, and strategy, typically covering broad industry issues and trends. Industry-related content was shared less over all (38% of the top shared sources), but still plays an important role in defining the conversations CMOs have with each other, their internal teams, and ultimately clients and customers.

The report also lists the top 25 most popular sources of mainstream and industry content shared by CMOs. In this list are mainstream media like Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, plus respected industry publications such as Business Insider, Advertising Age, Adweek, and (somewhat surprisingly)

Who’s influencing CMOs on social media?

Among the most interesting findings about the Twitter activity of CMOs were which brands, publications, and people these top marketers share and mention the most. These give a sense of who’s most influential with marketing executives. For example, the top 10 people most retweeted by CMOs are as follows (including Twitter handles):

  1. Vala Afshar - @ValaAfshar
  2. Kent Huffman - @KentHuffman
  3. Marc Andreesen - @pmarca
  4. Darren Rovell - @DarrenRovell
  5. Aaron Levie - @levie
  6. Glen Gilmore - @GlenGilmore
  7. Alan See - @AlanSee
  8. Tamara McCleary - @TamaraMcCleary
  9. Jerimiah Owyang - @jowyang
  10. Jay Baer - @jaybaer

The full report further lists the top retweeted and mentioned brands, publications, and people— some of which are guaranteed to surprise!

What else is in the social insights report?

There are many other interesting nuggets in the report, such as the most popular hashtags, the apps and platforms that drive the most Twitter sharing, and the most popular articles with CMOs. Download the free report to learn more.