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Social Networks Straddle Hype and Reality

Either way, marketers are getting prepared.

January 25, 2008

Social media network growth may be overhyped.

Nearly seven out of 10 senior media executives surveyed in December 2007 by AdMedia Partners said they thought so.

However, a majority of respondents said that growth predicted for mobile content, integrated ad networks and gaming was accurate.

Attitudes of US Senior Media Executives toward Perceived Growth Opportunities for Select Digital Media, December 2007 (% of respondents)

Part of an overall study on media company M&A prospects for 2008, the findings were optimistic, at least in December.

“Eighty percent of respondents expect their own organizations to complete at least one media acquisition or divestiture in 2008,” said Mark M. Edmiston, managing director of AdMedia Partners.

Although buzz can be measured in some ways, hype is a subjective concept. Marketers preparing to use social media are not holding back because the tactic is getting too much press.

Still, social media networks are not used universally by most marketers yet.

A study conducted in the third quarter of 2007 by Coremetrics indicated that while the majority of responding marketing professionals were not planning to implement social media tactics in the next 12 months, about a fifth were.

About a quarter of those surveyed said they planned to use some type of user-generated content or blogs as marketing tactics.

Social Media Marketing Tactics that US Marketing Professionals Plan to Implement, by Timeframe, Q3 2007 (% of respondents)

Marketers have been more likely to engage consumers with Websites or consumer feedback through social networking, according to a spring 2007 report from public relations agency Manning, Selvage & Lee conducted by PR Week and Millward Brown.

New Media/Consumer-Generated Media Tactics Used by US Marketers, April-May 2007 (% of respondents)

“Marketers who think that using a Website or asking for consumer feedback on a Website represents cutting-edge new media tactics are missing tremendous opportunities to build their brands,” said Mark Hass, global CEO of Manning Selvage & Lee.

Get an in-depth look at social network ad spending. Read eMarketer's Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage report.

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