Cover Story: Media Usage Forecast 2011
We only began including social media on the survey last year, and its adoption by responding marketers has been striking: 75 percent of companies use it for acquisition, 65 percent use it for retention and 64 percent plan to spend more on social media this year—only email is attracting more new spend. The ROI isn't there yet, but how much of that is due to the challenge of quantifying social media? Clearly, many marketers think it's worthwhile, even if few see it as a top channel for ROI.
While one marketer said, "social media requires more planning [than other advertising methods], if not more than any other advertising method," others cited the maturation of social media as the pivot point of their changing marketing plans. One marketer claimed that the biggest factor in the new budget was, "probably the emergence of social media marketing. We are doing a lot of Facebook marketing to members and non members alike."
However, the success of social media still seems very dependent on the marketer and the target audience. Some responses said the hype or fad of social media was the factor really influencing their budgets—and not its results. However, others felt customers were driving the shift. "The New Social Media," is changing the plans of one marketer because of "how potential customers view this phenomena and how we have made it the rule and not the exception."
After email and social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) came in as the fastest growing avenues of "media" investment in 2011, with 52.3 percent of companies increasing the budget allocation for SEO and 48.9 percent increasing SEM.
Most of those companies are employing SEO and SEM for acquisition. B-to-B marketers lead the way, with 70 percent planning to employ SEM in 2011 and 71 percent SEO, compared to 54 percent and 55 percent last year. For B-to-C, 53 percent will use SEM for acquisition and 52 percent for retention, over 38 percent for each in 2010. And 65 percent of hybrid marketers are using SEM for acquisition (51 percent last year) and 60 percent SEO (49 percent last year). All of those present significant increases over 2010 responses.