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Social Media Usage Plateaus Among Marketers

Mobile and location-based marketing are newer growth areas

July 18, 2012

There’s no denying social media is still a hot topic among marketers, but it’s no longer the new kid on the block.

eMarketer estimates advertisers will spend $3.63 billion in the US and over $4 billion more in the rest of the world on social networking sites this year. And that’s just paid ad spending.

When the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) surveyed US marketers this year, 90% said they were using social networks for their efforts—about even with last year, at 89%. While this percentage has risen dramatically since 2007, when just 20% of marketers used social media, growth has plateaued—and shifted to other new digital media platforms instead.

Newer Digital Media Platforms US Marketers Are Currently Using, 2007-2012 (% of respondents)

Mobile is one such growth area. Usage held steady at around three-quarters of marketers between 2011 and 2012, but 17% of respondents to the ANA survey reported that this was their first year using mobile, and another 17% planned to start using it in the next year. Location-based apps, specifically, were expected to be taken up by 19% of marketers in the next year. By comparison, just 7% said they would start using social networks or other social media for the first time this year.

Length of Time Using Newer Digital Media Platforms According to US Marketers, May 2012 (% of respondents)

Video is also growing quickly, with 64% of marketers using it in 2011, compared to 80% by 2012. This leaves video less room to grow than mobile or location-based services, but 10% of respondents still said they planned to begin using it in the next year.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Developers Turn to Facebook to Promote Apps” and “Social Media Fans in Germany Have High Expectations of Brands.”


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