Corporate Eye

How Will Brands Increase Social Media Marketing Budgets in 2013?

budgetIt’s not surprising that research shows brands plan to increase social media marketing budgets in 2013, but the biggest investments might not be in the areas you expect. Brands plan to increase budgets in many areas but two areas are the biggest focus for brands in 2013 — Facebook and social media management tools and technology.

According to eMarketer, research by STRATA found that 82.4% of ad agencies use Facebook most often for client campaigns followed by YouTube (41.9%), Twitter (36.5%), Google+ (25.7%), LinkedIn (23.0%), and Pinterest (23.0%). Other sites like foursquare and MySpace were cited as “most likely to be used for client campaigns” by just 4.1% and 1.4%, respectively.

Clearly, Facebook is the focus for brands. It’s used by more people than any other social media site, so Facebook should be a high priority for brands. However, breaking through the clutter of Facebook is very challenging. For brands that do it successfully, the rewards in terms of brand awareness, brand buzz, and even sales can be significant.

According to research by SocialVibe, 77% of U.S. internet users connected with brands on Facebook in October 2012. That’s significantly higher than any other social media site such as Google+ (14%), YouTube (13%), Twitter (6%), and Pinterest (2%).

Since Facebook is the biggest player in social media, brands plan to invest even more in marketing to consumers on that site than ever before. As eMarketer reports, brands expect to increase social media marketing budgets in several areas, but Facebook is always in the lead.

Research from Strongmail found that nearly four out of 10 business leaders across the globe plan to increase Facebook marketing investments in 2013. That’s significantly more than the number of business executives who expect to increase spending on social media management technology in 2013 (26.5%).

The survey results tell us that behind Facebook marketing, business leaders are most concerned with streamlining, analyzing, tracking, optimizing, and justifying social media marketing budgets in the future. The full breakdown of social media programs that business executives around the world expect to increase spending on in 2013 according to the Strongmail survey follows:

  1. Facebook marketing = 39.6%
  2. Social media management technology = 26.5%
  3. Viral/referral marketing campaigns = 23.6%
  4. Twitter marketing programs = 23.3%
  5. Appending social data to customer database = 18.0%
  6. Staff = 16.1%
  7. Training and education = 15.7%
  8. Pinterest marketing programs = 14.9%
  9. Listening platforms = 14.8%
  10. Agency services and strategy = 13.9%
  11. Other = 3.6%
  12. None = 21.7%

Did you notice that more than five out of 10 business executives surveyed by Strongmail indicated that they didn’t plan to increase spending on any social media marketing programs in 2013? Does that surprise you?

Review your 2013 marketing plan and see if your priorities align with the priorities of other business executives or if there are key differences. You might find some great opportunities to invest in marketing programs that other businesses are missing.

Image: linusb4

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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+.