Wednesday, March 6, 2013

MSPmentor 501: Social Media Analysis

"The MSPmentor 501 is an annual report from MSPmentor and publisher, Nine Lives Media. Previously known as the MSPmentor 100 report, this year’s report has been expanded from 100 to 501 companies worldwide..."

When the 2013 MSPmentor 501 list was released, all we saw was one thing: social media. You know in cartoons when a really hungry character starts seeing everything as food (a.k.a. meat-o-vision)?

It was kind of like that. As a company that frequently interacts with managed service providers via blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as well as being an MSP ourselves, we're always interested in what platforms companies have a presence on. Just Facebook? Twitter and a blog? All of the above, plus YouTube? Where else can we interact with them?

The MSPmentor 501 held all the answers to our burning social media questions! We couldn't wait to get our hands on that data and start analyzing. First things first, we made a master chart of the top 100 companies and all of their social media listed in the published report. (We know, we know. They expanded the list to 501 only to have us chop it back down to 100, but the number 501 overwhelmed us a little...) Then, we got down to business. Here's what we found...

Disclaimer: The MSPmentor 501 report was the only source of information we used, and we acknowledge that some companies social media platforms may have been accidentally left out of the report. In addition, this is an analysis of presence, not usage. Having a Twitter account and tweeting once a year is not the same as tweeting news and resources daily. We're just looking at who has what on the most basic level.

Social Media Platforms

Total Use

Looking at the total use of platforms by the MSPmentor 100, Twitter was the frontrunner. (Tweet this)

Surprising: Facebook in second place? We were a little surprised by this because Facebook is far and away the most popular social network, but it could be argued that a Twitter account is easier to make - it involves less information and decision making.

Not surprising: Google+ ignored. It was predictable that a little less than 10% of the MSPs use Google+, the newest platform on the list. Predictable, yet disappointing. We're big fans of Google+ and any article out there will tell you just how important it is for SEO purposes.

We compared this year's platform usage to the 2012 MSPmentor 100 report. The distribution didn't see any change: Twitter in first, Facebook in second, blogs in third.

However, each platform saw a 38% average increase in use from the previous year. Way to go, MSPs! (Tweet this)

Last year's report only contains information on these three platforms. We're glad this year's report expanded to include YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+. It's great to see more managed service providers getting involved in social media. Maybe next year's report will include Pinterest?


Top 10

How did the Top 10 compare to the overall group? These companies had an above average use of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and YouTube, but below average use of LinkedIn and Google+ (No Google+ at all!).


Top 25

The Top 25 didn't do as well as the Top 10 in comparison to the overall 100 MSPs. These companies had an average use of Twitter and Facebook, but a below average use of all other platforms.

This lead us to our next question...were social media use and rank related?

Social Media Use and Ranking on the Top 100

We calculated for a correlation between a company's rank on the MSPmentor 100 and the number of social media platforms they use. Although this is "quantity and not quality" of social media use, we were still curious! Our calculations found the very low correlation of  ~0.02, therefore rank and the number of social media platforms used are not related. As you can see in the scatter chart below, the data was all over the map and there's no discernible pattern.

Ranking on the MSPmentor 100 and number of social media platforms used are not correlated (Tweet this)

By Location


Interested in the breakdown of where the top 100 companies are located? Us too! Turns out about 3/4 are American, with the UK in second, Canada in third, and Australia in fourth. These numbers are basically the same as 2012, as you can see by comparing the pie charts below.

Fact: 55 MSPs made repeat appearances on the MSPmentor 100 for 2012 and 2013. (Tweet this)

States, Counties, and Provinces

We also looked at a the top states, counties, and provinces of the top 4 countries. America had 29 states represented in total. Below you can see the Top 10, with New York winning for the most MSPs on the list. It is interesting to note that Minnesota and Maryland are the only states in the Top 10 that are not also one of the 15 most populated.
In the UK, London took the lead, while in Canada only 3 of the provinces were represented. 3 of the 4 Australian MSPs are located in New South Wales.


First let's take a look at how many platforms each MSP is most likely to have. We were happy to discover that the largest percentage of companies use 4 of the 6 social media platforms. However, almost an equal fraction of companies (19%) are lacking a presence on any platforms at all.

So how do the continents stack up? We looked at North America, Europe, and grouped Africa, Asia, and Oceania together since they have 8 companies between them. North American MSPs had the highest percentage (21%) of companies with 0 platforms, while the European companies were most likely to use 1 platform (34%). Africa, Asia, and Oceania blew the other continents right off the globe with 38% of their MSPs using 4 platforms.

Common Combos

If managed service providers only have a presence on one of these platforms, which one is it most likely to be? You might be thinking, "We went over this already! Twitter is the most used. How do you have more to talk about?"

Well, we were surprised to find that if an MSP is only using one social media platform, it is most likely to be Facebook. (Tweet this) Then we remembered what we said a few paragraphs ago about Facebook being the most popular social network and promptly stopped being surprised. If you're looking to create your first social media account, it looks like Facebook is where your fellow MSPs are most likely to start.

If an MSP is using...
1 platform, it's most likely to be Facebook
2 platforms, they're most likely to be Facebook and Twitter
3 platforms, they're most likely to be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn OR Facebook, Twitter, and a blog

And a special shout out to the only three companies on the MSPmentor 100 that utilize all 6 platforms: South African Integr8 Group (#46) and American Cloud Sherpas (#48) and Convergence Networks (#99).


What we saw this year: 2013 saw an overall increase in social media presence, but not in countries represented. There were also 45 new companies included in the Top 100!

What we predict for next year: We predict that 2014 will see the continuation of increase in social media presence, with more and more managed service providers getting their feet wet in the social media pool.

What we hope for next year: We hope that more countries will be represented next year, or at least that the pie chart won't be so skewed to the U.S. We also hope that Pinterest will be included in the list of platforms. We want to see MSPs getting creative about expressing their company visually!

Thank you

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with us! Thank you to MSPmentor and Nine Lives Media for their annual report, recognizing the importance of social media, and expanding it to include 501 companies this year. It's great to have that many managed service providers recognized worldwide.

And a big thank you to the managed service providers. It's great to see so many MSPs with a social media presence, and we know that number is increasing daily. Keep doing what you're doing and don't be afraid to branch out to another platform!

Well, what did you think? What surprised you? What do you want to see next year? Comment below or tweet us!