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eMarketer recently published some great research on current trends in marketing spending for social media.

eMarketer Social Media Spending

Social Media = Content

According to their report there was a 23% increase in social media spending excluding paid advertising, which is a great sign for a company like ours. What’s even better is they are projecting an additional 35% for this year.

This is a great indicator that marketers get it. In the online space, you can’t buy brand preference, loyalty, awareness or affinity: they must be earned.

That’s not to say paid online advertising doesn’t work; it is very effective if there is a clear call to action, conversion path and great creative. But it is difficult for advertising to accomplish what an authentic, humanistic engagement can accomplish as it relates to hearts and minds.

One of the issues eMarketer brings up is the difficulty in tracking the marketing spend due to the number of different budgets from which it comes. Is it advertising? Not really. Is it PR? Probably not. Is it coming from IT? Nope. The need for resources to drive the socialization of business is the reason we’re here, but we constantly find ourselves working with our clients to help them figure out where the budget should come from.

So what’s the answer? We usually tell clients it should come from their Media budget, as social engagement–while not free–is still much more efficient than a typical offline media buy.

For instance, for about the cost of a week on a mid-market radio station or a single half-page newspaper ad in a mid-tier market, we can proactively manage a brand’s presence across the entire internet.

We make, manage, monitor, moderate and measure the content we create across all your brand’s digital platforms and outposts. Reallocating just a small portion of the offline media budget allows brands to actively participate in and leverage social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, company blogs, websites, email programs, and even mobile devices.

We’d love to tell you more about it: contact us any time. Here is a link to eMarketer’s full report if you have an extra $695 and you’re really interested. In the meantime, ask yourself: where is your social media budget coming from?

UPDATE: I changed the title of this post, because I came up with a better one. Also, there is a discussion we started related to this over on our Facebook Fan Page if you’re interested.

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