Agency Survey: Early 2012 Social Dollars Boom

agency-photoSeven out of eight ad agencies stated their clients’ social media spends either doubled or were “up significantly” in January when compared to the same month in 2011. And brands this year have been – not surprisingly – more dialed into Facebook than Twitter, according to a survey orchestrated by ClickZ News.

“I think social has become fairly mainstream, and I think the education amongst our clients has improved substantially,” said Adam Donnelley, an EVP at MRM, one of the agencies surveyed. “Facebook has managed to get more targeted and build broader reach, and that’s clearly something coming up in conversations rather frequently.”

Last month, we reached out to MRM and other agencies with major digital marketing clients to peek into where social media dollars were going. Crispin Porter+Bogusky, AKQA, Razorfish, Huge, Brunner, Rokkan, and Evolution Bureau rounded out the questionnaire participants.

We were particularly interested in what ad units are getting support from brands: Facebook Premium Ads; Facebook Marketplace Ads; Twitter Promoted Trends; Twitter Promoted Tweets; Twitter Promoted Accounts.

Here are the key findings:

  • Half of the agencies said the majority of their clients had purchased Facebook Premium Ads and Facebook Marketplace Ads, respectively, in the last 12 months.
  • Only one agency said that more than one-quarter of its clients had bought a Promoted Trend on Twitter in the last 12 months. The other seven stated that less than 25 percent of its brands had purchased the ad unit.
  • Not a lot of their brands have invested in the other Twitter ad units, either, in the last 12 months. All eight agencies said that less than one-quarter of their clients had tested Promoted Accounts, which are designed to increase followers on the micro-blogging site. And only one agency stated that more than 25 percent of its clients had bought Promoted Tweets.
  • Three out of eight agencies said social media spends in January had doubled compared to the same month 2011.
  • Four said social media spends for the month were up significantly.

Agency Crystal Ball: What Platform Will Reign Supreme?

We also asked brands to predict what platform would cause the biggest stir in 2012, based on recent client inquiries. Answers to the open-ended question varied, including Pinterest, Zynga, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, YouTube, and Stumbleupon.

Jeff Lanctot, Razorfish chief media officer, said that while Facebook’s IPO and new ad strategy would likely win the day, other rainmakers will gain interest.

“Twitter will also be a big story, building on the success of American Express and other campaigns,” he explained. “Pinterest will be the third [biggest], both for the quick way they’ve been able to build audience and revenue, and the looming copyright issues they’ll need to address.”

Rokkan CEO John Noe pointed to YouTube. “With the decline of TV and enhanced viewership of digital video,” he said, “brands will try to compete for users’ attention on YouTube and other video platforms.”

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