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Econsultancy's third annual UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report was released last week; it profiles the UK search marketing environment, and covers paid search, SEO and social media.
One of the trends uncovered by the report, produced in association with Guava, is that social media is becoming a bigger part of the marketing mix, with 91% of search agencies already offering, or else planning to offer, advice and services to clients on how to make the most of social media.
Growth of Twitter
The rapid growth of Twitter is reflected in the attention paid to it in companies' marketing strategies; this year 49% said they were including the site in their social media marketing, compared with just 3% last year.
This means that Twitter is now the second most popular site for social media marketing after Facebook, and ahead of YouTube in the list of sites "utilised by companies as part of their marketing strategy":
Budgets for social media marketing
Predictably for an area of marketing that is still in its infancy, budgets for social media are still relatively small. 55% of company respondents are spending less than £5,000 per year, while just 4% were spending more than £50,000 in this area.
According to agency respondents, companies are spending 5% of their total marketing budgets on social media, compared with 15% on SEO and 24% on paid search.
48% of companies said that spending on social media marketing would rise over the next 12 months, while agencies were more bullish about the importance of social media investment.
Whether this is because they are more aware of the importance of social media marketing, or that they have an exaggeratied view of its significance is uncertain, but 69% agencies expect more spending in this area from their clients in the next year.
The "primary objectives of social media marketing" are more likely to geared towards branding or generating traffic than actually driving online sales or lead generation, according to company respondents:
Measuring social media ROI
This is a problem for some companies, and it seems many are unsure how to measure their social media campaigns. 19% aren't doing any tracking, while for those that are, the number of clicks or visits generated is the most important metric.
Furthermore, 60% of companies are not tracking social media ROI as effectively as they would like to, so it's not surprising that 49% have no idea how successful or otherwise their campaigns have been.