Social Media Marketing Budgets on the Rise

Recently, we looked at media usage trends, which showed the rising numbers of media consumers that are using social networking sites, reading blogs, and viewing Internet video, among other forms of digital content. Not surprisingly, as these new forms of media consumption grow, so too grows the number of marketing dollars being poured into them.

According to a new study released by Aberdeen Group (published today by eMarketer), 63 percent of companies plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2009, despite the current weakness in the economy. Digging deeper into the numbers, 21 percent of those surveyed plan to increase social media spending by 25 percent or more, while a mere 3 percent plan to shrink their budgets (34 percent responded “no change”).

social media marketing spendingWhile that sounds like incredibly good news, it’s worth noting that late last year eMarketer reduced their estimates for overall ad spending on social networking sites. Additionally, eMarketer goes on to note in today’s report that a combined 59 percent of companies found it difficult or “very difficult” to measure social media marketing.

But “social media,” according to the newest survey, encompasses more than just the likes of FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews and MySpaceMySpace reviewsMySpace reviews, who still command the bulk of ad dollars, and includes things like blogs, wikis, and TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews. Of course, all of these mediums are still in the experimental phase when it comes to ad formats and measurement, ranging from the new Facebook Pages to the Twitter Brand Sponsors we’re trying on MashableMashable reviewsMashable reviews.

With budgets for social media marketing clearly on the rise, once best practices are established, those remaining tepid about the medium at the moment may jump in, and overall spending should continue to grow. Perhaps, at that point, we can even conclude that social media is indeed an industry.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alexsl