March 26, 2012: As part of the Highlights and Insights February 2012 Survey conducted by the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University questioned 3,401 top U.S. marketers about their projections for social media spending over the next five years. The survey, conducted bi-annually, targeted participants at VP-level or above.
According to the report, 7.4 percent of marketing budgets are currently being allocated to social media. This number is projected to reach 10.8 percent over the next year and 19.5 percent over the next five years, showing a general increase in social media spending. Brand building, which uses social media as a springboard, could account for the significant increase in spending, as it has increased by 26.3 percent within just the past six months.
The survey categorized social media spending based on insourcing and outsourcing; both scenarios showed a significant increase from February 2011 to February 2012. As of one year ago, the percentage of in-house employees using social media was approximately 5.3. In February of 2012, however, that number rose to 9 percent. Social media outsourcing saw a similar trend, according to the study. These initiatives more than doubled over the past year, going from an average of 1.8 to 4.0 employees hired to manage social media on behalf of companies.
The increase in hiring for social media, projected by marketers surveyed, is indicative of a continuing trend toward digital marketing. In support of this assertion, the survey showed that traditional marketing spending (i.e., marketing that does not involve the Internet) will decrease by a staggering 161.5 percent over the next five years, while digital marketing spend will increase by 14.3 percent.