Social media marketing budgets set to rise in 2011

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Image by Anas Ahmad via Flickr

Social media marketing budgets are set to rise for 40% of firms across Europe in 2011 and budget for social media marketing is an issue for only 18% of brands. These findings come from Meltwater Group‘s Future of Content report, a survey of with marketing and social media decision makers from 450 brands across the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Singapore and Australia. The news is undoubtedly good news for social media agencies, but also reflects a growing maturity of how brands are viewing social media as part of their marketing and communications mix.

Of those interviewed, 40% said that their organisation fully embraced social media, and a much larger proportion (82%) reported that budget was not a constraint. Social media sits alongside more established tactics for those interviews - being the third most popular means of getting content out, after e-newsletters (the most popular) and printed magazines (the second most popular). But with 40% of firms reporting that their budgets will rise in 2011, social media marketing is a growing part of this mix and is challenging the more established media.

This pattern is one that we have seen in 2010 at FreshNetworks - clients moving from traditional print magazines to social media, especially in the B2B market. Engaging customers and stakeholders in social media has grown significantly over the last 4-5 years, and we are now witnessing it taking over traditional methods of communication as opposed to just complimenting and adding to them. Brands are starting to rethink their overall marketing and communications mix and are putting social media at the heart of it.

This study from Meltwater Group supports this trend and reinforces a trend we expect in 2011 for successful brands to dedicate a greater proportion of  their marketing spend to social media marketing. Reviewing existing campaigns and processes and working out how social media can add greater value than what they have already. We have moved beyond social media marketing being experimental and for individual projects alone, and into it being central to a brand’s marketing and communications mix. In 2011 we will see this become more pronounced, see more experimentation, and see more brands able to report, and prove, the value they are getting.

2011 will see social media marketing budgets rise, but it will also be the year when we should expect, even demand, to see more demonstrable value from this expenditure. But that’s the subject of another post in this informal series of predictions for 2011.

This post is part of an informal series: Social Media in 2011.

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