Survey Finds Advertisers Keen on Social Networks, UGC

Marketing professionals believe social media marketing is a way to gain a competitive advantage, though they haven’t yet put their money where their mouths are — yet.

Of the 116 senior marketing executives surveyed by digital marketing company Coremetrics, 78 percent said social media marketing holds promise for business. At the same time, the average percentage of online marketing spend allocated to social media is 7.8 percent.

John Squire, senior vice president product strategy and general manager of search services for Coremetrics, expects social media will soon get more marketing dollars.

“We think it’s a place where you’re not going to lose an investment by learning more and providing services in these areas. Facebook, mySpace, Digg, del.icio.us…Those seem to be the big areas right away that people say ‘gosh I want to nail those.'”

The second annual “Face of the New Marketer” survey, released Tuesday, questioned marketers from e-commerce firms, media and content companies, about their advertising spending habits and plans for the coming year’s budgets.

What’s more important than a marketing investment in social media? Search engine optimization is the top priority, according to the survey respondents.

Despite interest in social media, 33 percent of spend, on average, goes to online advertising and 28 percent to online promotion design and implementation, according to the survey.

The survey also found that user generated content and social media features are making their way into e-commerce and media sites, as 58 percent have made user reviews possible on their site in the last year, while 31 percent have introduced a blog.

One surprise to Squire? Marketers haven’t rushed to adopt RSS feeds.

“It continues to be an area that hasn’t penetrated the market over the last three years,” he said, noting that only 25 percent of Coremetrics’ clients have implemented an RSS feed in the past year. “I think it will change a little bit but I don’t see people putting a huge effort into that.”

While SEO is ranked as the top priority; the survey shows that e-mail campaigns demand the most of a marketer’s time. Of nine different tasks, the marketers said they spend an average of 22 percent of their time working on e-mail campaigns compared to 20.7 percent for SEO.

“The biggest time suck has been e-mail. Even though people prioritize that SEO is the area they need to invest in, the time is going to ward e-mail and the money is going to paid search,” Squire said.

Coremetrics e-mail survey took place during the third quarter of 2007.

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