Social Media's Share of Digital Spend to Accelerate

Social media’s share of digital spend is expected to accelerate as new capabilities come online, finds a new research.


Conducted by Booz & Company and Buddy Media, the study reveals that leading companies are transforming their marketing capabilities as social media plays an expanding role in advertising and branding efforts.


Content development, community management and data/analytics are the critical priorities for capability development and investment, notes the study. Ninety-six percent of respondents say they expect to be increasing their investments in capabilities related to social media. More than half (57%) are concentrating their efforts on hiring new people.


According to the study, 72 percent are planning to invest in creative and editorial talent; 59 percent are targeting community management; and 43 percent plan to upgrade their analytical resources.


Marketers expect to increase their spending on social media; social media in turn will become a larger share of marketers’ digital spending – today 89 percent of respondents said social media counts for less than 10 percent of overall digital marketing spend.



In 2014, only 45 percent of respondents expect social to account for less than 10 percent of their digital budget. Twenty-eight percent believe social will grow to be 20% or more of their digital budgets. Seventy-nine percent say funding for social media will come out of their digital budgets versus other media (e.g., TV, print, radio).


Almost (94 percent) all respondents regard Facebook as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities. Seventy-seven percent view Twitter as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities; 42% say YouTube is one of their top 3 social media platform priorities.


The study found that leadership of social media is concentrated in the marketing function.


Eighty-one percent of respondents said that the marketing department is responsible for social media. And while social media is squarely on the functional agenda of senior marketers – 38% say that social media is CEO-level priority for their companies.


Advertising, PR and customer service are where companies are capturing the greatest benefits from social media. Ninety-six percent of respondents said they are using social media for “advertising and promotions.”


When asked where they see the most benefit from social media, 90% said “brand building,” 89% said “interactivity,” 88% said “buzz building”, and 81% said “consumer insights.”


Outside of marketing, PR and customer service, 56% of respondents are using social media to support market research, 40% for product development efforts and 24% are using it for internally focused communications to employees.


While today the biggest benefits are associated with marketing, 48% are using social media for sales and commerce. And 38% have metrics in place to track this kind of transaction value (e.g., sales, leads generated).


Brand measures such as reach and engagement/participation are the key focus areas for metrics. Eighty-eight percent of marketers are tracking the reach of their social media efforts while in parallel they are closely monitoring engagement as well as participation.


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