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Social media spending on the up, according to IAB

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
3 February 2010

As a member of the IAB social media council, I was lucky to get a sneak-peak at the findings of their survey of UK marketeers on the subject of social media in 2010. As the results are now un-embargoed, I can give you a few of them here. There’s some very interesting findings, with the headline results including:

  • Social marketing will be getting a much greater share of brand’s marketing budgets this year
  • Confusion over where social media should lie within an organisation is rife, with responsibility spanning a number of departments, from PR to IT.
  • The main challenges people still face when ‘doing’ social media are ROI and measurement.


Brand budgets bulging

According to the survey respondents, spend on social media in 2010 is set to increase, with over a third of them saying they plan to allocate between 6 and 20% of their (digital) marketing budgets on social. Of the 80+ senior level marketeers polled, only 7% admitted that they have not yet embraced social media in any way at all within their organisation. An impressive 22% claim to have made it a core part of their strategy.

Where does the buck stop?

As with other studies on similar topics, the results once again prove that there is still a great deal of confusion about where the responsibility for social activities should sit within an organisation. Almost 3/4 of all respondents said that responsibility belonged with marketing, 33% (yes, this was a multiple-choice question!) also lay the claim with PR, 12% with research, 16% with customer service and slightly worryingly, 7% said their “IT team”.

One of the recommendations of the IAB based on these findings – and one which we whole-heartedly back – is the establishment of social media ‘teams’ within an organisation. Working across departments, these teams can ensure that all areas are represented without the risk of overlap, contradiction or worse.

Show me the money!

If you follow social media research or blogs, you won’t be at all surprised to hear that almost three quarters (74%) of the marketers questioned claimed that proving the ROI of social media was their biggest challenge – or more accurately, the biggest challenge to our industry. An equally large 64% said measurement was their biggest worry, which just goes to show how many people must be jumping in feet-first without a second thought for how they actually benchmark and track what they do.

Tweet tweet

Unsurprisingly, when asked to report back on what activities they had already tried, 51% cited Twitter, with monitoring also getting the same portion of votes. Facebook came a very close second, with 47% claiming to have tried out Facebook pages for their brand. Other options that scored well included branded communities (39%), blogger outreach (37%), UGC (37%), video distribution (37%), customer services (36%) and display advertising within social networks (35%).

The survey also revealed some obvious holes in marketers knowledge, with 27% claiming to have no idea what crowd-sourcing is. IAB social media council manager Amy Kean comments:

“Social media activity has the potential to sit at the very heart of an organisation, and as such requires a range of expertise in communications, promotion, insights and customer care in order make the whole package a successful one.”



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