Social Media Use, Ad Budgets On Rise
Despite the general state of the economy, falling advertising budgets and continued debate over the marketing usefulness of social media, budgets allocated to social media in 2010 are bucking the downward trend. For the photo stock industry, the channel holds dual interest: It is becoming an important collective user of imagery and video and an equally important marketing resource.
November data from Trendstream and Lightspeed Research shows that close to 80 million people (over 42% of all Internet users) uploaded photos to the Internet, and over 15% uploaded video. While most of this visual content is personal -- such as profile head shots of family imagery -- much is not.
Consider that about 13% of this particular survey's respondents (an estimated 17.4 million U.S. Internet users) manage their own blog -- and this survey dealt with the general public, not the subset of blogs that exist specifically for the purposes of marketing. Technorati has indexed 133 million blogs since 2002; its latest statistics say that the world generates an average of 900,000 blog posts every 24 hours.
There are still no statistics as to how many of these posts are accompanied by pictures or what percentage of these originated from sources other than the post's author. However, given the extraordinarily large size of the whole, even a very small market share can amount to very significant dollars.
Projected 2010 Social Media Marketing Budgets
Furthermore, online image uses are likely to continue rising alongside rising advertising budgets. MarketingSherpa's 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report predicts that social marketing activities will benefit from significant budget increases in all industries. Researchers found that in the current economic climate, budgets for social media are growing at the expense of other marketing tactics -- for example, by shifting print ad dollars online, where activities are more measurable.
MarketingSherpa's findings underscore that social-media marketing is a labor-intensive activity. Marketers plan to spend 60% of their budgets on salaries, covering staffers blogging and other content-generating activities. However, an average 20% of the social-media budget will go outside the organization to agencies, consultancies and other service providers -- showing there is an actual allocation for expenses such as licensing imagery.