Cover Story: Media Usage Survey 2015
Most respondents (61 percent) also plan to increase social media engagement investments in 2015. That's nearly as many as those who are increasing email spend. And as with email, this growth has been steady for several years. The tide has only risen 2 percent from last year, where 59 percent of surveyed marketers said they would increase spend on the medium.
On the other hand, social media advertising is way up compared with years past. Almost half (46 percent) are increasing budget on social ads, and only 21 percent are not using them at all. That's the largest increase over last year's responses, when 45 percent reported they did not use social advertising, and only 31 percent were increasing investment in it.
Social media advertising is now the fifth-most-used media, according to the survey, bumping direct mail out of the top five. This continues the slightly downward trajectory of direct mail during the past two years. One marketer noted that "user preferences have led us to increase e-marketing and decrease direct mail." When asked what media delivers the strongest ROI for customer acquisition—long considered email's weakest application—32 percent of respondents said email, while only 17 percent said direct mail.
Content marketing and lead nurturing are both growing, as well, as seen in Chart 5. During the past two years, we've tracked the meteoric rise of content marketing as a staggering 90 percent of respondents reported using it in the 2014 survey, and 65 percent were increasing spend. This year, that trend continues to hold strong, as Chart 5 shows that content marketing as a tactic still has the highest percentage of respondents planning to increase spending through 2015 (56 percent).
The catchphrase "Content is king" comes to mind. In the words of one responder: "Good content and SEO ... bring our best responses."