Online Marketing & Social Media: It’s Where The Money's Being Spent

Meg Hoppe
Posted by Meg Hoppe on April 6, 2012

2012 industryreport coverIf you need proof that marketing has undergone a sea change, read the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. The report’s major findings focus on how marketers are using social media, what forms of social media have been most effective in generating leads, which tools are most utilized, how much time is being spent managing social media and much more.

The report also looks at what marketers aren’t using. There’s plenty of evidence showing that social media – and online efforts in general – is getting the marketing dollars once spent on traditional media.

One section of the report asks the 3,800+ marketers taking the survey to indicate whether they would increase spending, decrease spending, continue their current spending level, or not utilize various marketing methods. Here is a breakdown by marketing channel:

Non-Traditional Methods

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Most respondents (68%) plan on increasing their search engine optimization efforts.

Email Marketing

  • 61% plan on increasing email marketing efforts in the near future.


  • About half (48%) of businesses have no plans to use webinars, while 37% plan on increasing spending. When contrasted with the large percentage that employ event marketing (see #1 below), it seems that many businesses are not yet sold on the idea of virtual events (or don’t know how to execute them). 44% of self-employed and small business owners are planning an increase in spending on webinars, probably due to their relatively low cost.

Online Advertising

  • Just less than half (43%) of marketers plan on increasing their online advertising efforts, which includes pay-per-click ads. Mid-sized businesses (250-999 employees) were most likely to increase online advertising (51%).

What these statistics say is that SEO is a “no brainer,” while webinars and online ads haven’t yet proven to be effective methods of reaching prospects. Email marketing is about flat; there are probably several reasons for this, including concerns about email marketing being seen as junk mail, and ability to secure quality lists.

Traditional Methods

Event Marketing

  • 56% of marketers plan on increasing their event marketing and speaking engagements, down from 61% in 2011. The self-employed and small business owners (65% and 64%, respectively) are significantly more likely to use event marketing than corporate employees (44%).

Press Releases

  • 79% of marketers plan on either keeping the same levels or increasing their use of press releases, with less than half (42%) planning an increase.


  • 39% of marketers have no plans to utilize sponsorships, though 27% do plan an increase for 2012.

Direct Mail

  • Marketers are more likely to decrease their use of direct mail than any other marketing channel (17% planning to decrease). Only 19% plan on increasing their use of direct mail. Of those planning on increasing direct mail, the self-employed (22% and 20%, respectively) and small businesses were most likely.

Print Ads

  • A significant 53% of marketers either have no plans to use or will decrease their use of print ads. B2C (12%) were more likely to reduce their use of print advertising compared to B2C (9%).

Radio Ads

  • 67% of marketers have no plans to use radio ads. B2C marketers are twice as likely (12%) to increase their use of radio ads than B2B (5.4%).

Television Ads

  • Only 6% of marketers plan on increasing television ads. Of businesses with 100-499 employees or more, 11% plan on increasing their use of television ads.

What these statistics say is that marketers are losing confidence in traditional marketing, and focusing more of their efforts and resources on online tactics that offer better ROI and supporting analytics. Event marketing and press releases are the only traditional methods marketers are putting money into.

If you're not one of those businesses looking to increase your reliance on online marketing, maybe it's time you took a serious look at your current online performance. You don't want to keep ignoring this any longer. Now's the time to take advantage of Weidert Group's free Online Marketing Evaluation!

Social Media Optimization Playbook


Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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