Social Now A Quarter Of Digital Ad Spend: Used Mostly For Branding, Not 'Performance'

On average, big advertisers now spend nearly a quarter (24%) of their digital ad budgets on social media, and nearly half (47%) plan to boost it over the next six months. That’s the top-line finding from the first Social Media Advertising Report being released today by Advertiser Perceptions.

The findings, which are derived from AP’s surveys and interviews of more than 300 agency and marketer executives, found that most of those budgets are either going into “sharing networks” or being bought “programmatically.”

Interestingly, the report also finds the vast majority of social media spending by brands is not focused on so-called “performance” -- advertising intended to generate an immediate action -- but on building “brand awareness.”

Only 38% of respondents said they were utilizing social media to generate “offline sales.”

Asked what matters most in their social media efforts, 20% of respondents cited “reach and engagement” vs. 5% citing location and 4% “geographic targeting.”

The findings suggest that advertisers would like to invest more in social media, but that key impediments -- especially standardized measurement -- remain key issues for many.

Interestingly, as pervasive as social media seems to be in, well, society, only a small minority (10%) of marketers consider their organizations “expert in social media advertising,” and less than 50% have advanced social strategies and infrastructure. A large group of marketers said they rely on outside agents for social expertise.

“Social advertising is a shining opportunity for agencies, but they need to ramp up expertise quickly,” explains AP President Randy Cohen. “Marketers are set to rely on agencies more as they increase social media, because they don’t have the in-house expertise.”
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