Corporate Eye

How Much Do Brands Spend on Social Media Marketing?

budget investmentThere is no set rule related to how much brands should invest in social media marketing, but currently, the majority spend less than 20% of their market budgets on social media. That’s according to a study by Advertising Age and Citigroup that found 49.5% of U.S. marketers spent between 1%-10% of their marketing budgets on social media and another 19.0% spent between 11% and 20% of their budgets on social media.

The most surprising discovery from the study is the 9.7% of U.S. marketers who spend nothing on social media marketing. The specific breakdowns for social media marketing and digital marketing budgets follow:

  • 0% of the Marketing Budget = 9.7% social media; 3.0% digital
  • 1%-10% of the Marketing Budget = 49.3% social media; 24.3% digital
  • 11%-20% of the Marketing Budget = 19.0% social media; 19.3% digital
  • 21%-30% of the Marketing Budget = 8.5% social media; 11.4% digital
  • 31%-40% of the Marketing Budget = 4.3% social media; 7.4% digital
  • 41%-50% of the Marketing Budget = 3.6% social media; 6.2% digital
  • 50% or More of the Marketing Budget = 5.3% social media; 17.2% digital
  • Not Sure = 0% social media; 11.1% digital

On a positive note, respondents to the June 2012 survey did indicate that their budgets are increasing. In fact, 72.9% of respondents indicated that their social media budgets would go up in the next year. Of course, the biggest problems for marketers are getting executive buy-in to gain approval for a social media budget and tracking results effectively. Companies that aren’t investing in social media yet (the 9.7% mentioned above) are falling way behind and will have a hard time catching up.

I’m actually surprised by the digital marketing investment numbers, too. According to the survey, 27.3% of U.S. marketers are investing 10% or less of their marketing budgets in digital marketing. Given the fact that consumers and businesses typically turn to the web for product, service, and brand information first, it’s hard to believe that there are still companies that don’t invest in digital marketing or invest such a small percentage of their budgets into digital marketing. Let’s hope their digital marketing budgets will be going up in the near future.

What do you think? Will your social media marketing and digital marketing budgets increase in the next year? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Sufi Nawaz

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.