NEW YORK: Social media is being used by almost all North American marketers but few list it among their top three most important channels and there are opportunities to better co-ordinate it with email and web a new report has said.

Experian Marketing Services surveyed North American marketers across nine different verticals about their marketing initiatives for the 2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report. This showed most were active in several channels, with almost all present in email (99%), social (98%) and Web (96%).

Print (83%) and store (80%) were also popular, followed by mobile (71%) and broadcast (46%).

When asked about the channels they planned to use in 2014, Web (63%) and email (60%) topped marketers' lists with search marketing (39%) in third place.

Experian noted that globally less than one quarter of marketers put social media in their top three but suggested that this was beginning to change as more marketers had identified search as important in 2013 than were planning to use it in 2014.

The most significant shifts in budgets for 2014 appeared to be moving towards paid display advertising, whether online or in social media, and unpaid social media.

Unpaid social media had been seen as an important channel by 24% of respondents in 2013 but 29% put it in their top planned media for 2014; social display advertising had seen similar uplift, from 5% in 2013 to 2% in 2014, while online display advertising had moved from 19% to 24%.

Experian observed that many of its own clients were promoting social media in their email campaigns, with the most popular approach being to include it in headers and footers (96%).

Some 43% of its clients had used "like it" buttons in emails, while 35% included "pin it" buttons and 21% a "tweet this" option.

Pinterest and Instagram had also made significant inroads in the past year with the former now being promoted by 64% of Experian's client brands compared to 32% in 2013, while the latter had gone from nothing to 39%.

Data sourced from Experian Marketing Services; additional content by Warc staff