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Engagement on Social Networks Top Priority for Marketers

Earned media spending to see biggest increase

Though not immune to the recession, digital marketing rode out the downturn, and marketers worldwide are bullish about the space’s prospects in 2010, according to research from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA).

The “2010 Digital Marketing Outlook” report found that 81% of the brand executives surveyed expected an increase in digital projects in 2010, and one-half will be moving dollars from traditional to digital budgets. Further, more than three-quarters think the current economy will push more allocations to digital.

Senior marketers reported that social networks and applications were their biggest priority for 2010, followed closely by digital infrastructure. While social media marketing looks set to stay top of mind, a majority of respondents considered a range of digital activities at least “important,” with only games failing to inspire widespread interest.

As paid traditional media investments stagnated or decreased, paid digital spending has held steady or gone up, usually by less than 30%. But “unpaid/earned/proprietary” media spending has seen the sharpest rise, with nearly one-fifth of respondents reporting increases of more than 30%. Climbing unpaid-media spending is likely an effect of the increased emphasis on social networks, where the most effective efforts are earned, not bought.

Marketers are looking closely at measures of engagement. Respondents considered time spent on a site to be the most important performance metric, followed by unique page views.

Despite a bright outlook for digital, the report warned marketers that they must keep pushing for advances in the channel.

“Digital agencies must avoid complacency at all costs and continue to focus on driving innovation as well as engaging consumers with relevant dialog in uncharted and fast-moving channels,” said Steve Wages, interim executive director of SoDA, in a statement.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription today.

Check out today’s other article, “UK Women Are Digital Communicators.”

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