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Execs Foresee Continued Shift to Digital Marketing

Social media marketing spend predicted to nearly triple over five years

Marketers, it seems, are confident that a US economic recovery is under way. A February 2012 poll of CMOs conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business found that respondents estimated their marketing budgets would grow 8.1% over the coming 12 months, a sign they were optimistic about the overall state of the US economy.

This was down slightly from August’s more bullish spending expectation, but part of a general upward trend since the end of the recession in 2009.

Much of the growth in marketing spending will be directed to online efforts, spending for which was expected to climb 12.8% over the next year. However, the outlook for ad spending in traditional media was considerably less rosy—the poll found that respondents predicted ad budgets for traditional channels would drop 0.8% during the period. Marketers will continue to flee some forms of old media in favor of digital, no doubt due to the latter’s ability to corner a mass audience while also providing targeting advertising and better analytics.

Social media campaigns, in particular, will see a significant influx of dollars. Marketers said that they planned to allocate 7.4% of their overall budgets to social media in the current year. Survey respondents said they expected that figure to almost triple by 2017 to 19.5%.

However, CMOs see social media as a category that currently exists largely outside of their companies’ overall marketing strategies. About 18% of those polled said social media had not yet been incorporated into broader marketing plans, while only 7% thought social media efforts had been well-integrated into their marketing strategy, with the balance falling somewhere between those two poles.

eMarketer estimates digital ad spending, including paid ads on the internet as well as mobile search and display advertising, will rise 23.3% this year, while traditional budgets other than TV will remain largely stagnant. Social network ad spending in the US is expected to grow 43% during the period.

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Check out today’s other articles, “CEOs Who Tweet Held in High Regard” and “Mobile Activity Boosts Social Media Growth in Germany.”

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