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While most companies have increased the amount they spend on social media over the last year, the figures are still modest compared to investment in other channels. 

Our Social Media and Online PR report, produced in association with bigmouthmedia, finds that 28% of companies are not spending anything on social media marketing while a further 33% are spending less than £5,000 a year.

The majority of responding companies are not spending anything at all on social media, or less than £5,000 per annum, which wouldn't really pay for much. Just 10% of companies are spending £50,000 or more per annum. 

This lack of investment partly stems from a lack of understanding of how to measure social media success. 47% of companies say “the jury is still out” specifically because they have not been able to measure results from their social media activity. 

Online PR & Social media2

This modest investment in social media is also proving to be a barrier to social media success. 49% of company respondents say that lack of resources is a major barrier to success, and 30% say lack of budget is a significant issue. 

Other barriers include lack of knowledge, company culture, and measurement problems. Clearly some of the high profile 'PR fails' around social media have made some companies cautious about engaging with social media, as 22% cite 'fear of reputation issues'. 

Online PR & Social media3

The lack of resources applied to social media is reflected in staffing levels. While 8% of companies have six or more staff dedicated to social media, the majority have very few people in social media roles. 

29% of companies do not have any employees in the organisation who are solely dedicated to social media, while this figure only drops to 27% for companies with a turnover of more than £150m, which suggests that budget is not necessarily the problem. 

Most companies have just one (32%) or two staff (17%) devoted to managing social media activity within organisations.  

Online PR & Social media1

Graham Charlton

Published 30 September, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (9)

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I feel a lot of companies don't see what Social Media does for them, its not a product that can give them a firm monetery value of return. Over the last 12 months people have not having the extra money to be advebturous im not suprised with these results.

If you look at the people that are using social media well, you will notice that they use it as a service or an outlet for something they are offering or trying to achieve.

about 6 years ago


Mikko Rummukainen

Thank you for the interesting results, Graham!

Just today I published a post (found here: http://bit.ly/aX2mGf ) about the importance of mapping out the company's social media environment before getting deeply involved.

I would assume that after seeing what the social media environment is like in the first place, it would be easier to set concrete objectives instead of setting out based on abstract expectations. After this, perhaps the 'lack of knowledge or understanding'-part of the respondents could be reduced quite a bit.

about 6 years ago


angelica laurencon

These facts and figures just prove that most of the marketers and CEO haven´t integrated the paradoxal action of Social Media: In a very short time Social Media broke into the old business as usual strategies. To get the Return on Efforts of Social Media Strategies takes a very long time, months, years, and, if the Social Media Man wants to do a good job, he will spend many hours crawling in the incoming information fload, collecting input and distributing output....... a never ending Time Machine That´s the paradoxon of Social Media. To act in this two contradictory time units is obviously impossible for most of the big and small Business deciders.

about 6 years ago



Social media reduces traditional call center support by deflecting customers to utilize their circle of friends - community. No longer is the information static. It is fluid and accessible to everyone via the community. Companies should look for companies that provide Social Media Support Services that provide outsourcing alternatives. One company that provides this support is Open Channel Interactive in Logan, Utah. They even provide multi lingual. Bottom line, reduce traditional customer support calls via social media and enjoy the savings!

about 6 years ago


Gary R

Social Media is a major component of the new world.  I also believe that social media is the most effective medium to market within.  327promotions.com.

about 6 years ago


Oscar Del Santo

We Social Media professional have largely ourselves to blame for this disheartening set of figures.

The situation would improve dramatically if adequate training was provided and we took on board the task of educating a non-social-media-savvy business public about the importance, monitorization and likely results of strategically conceived and applied social media initiatives.

about 6 years ago


Junior ISA

I am constantly wondering what types of investment plans or other forms of investment are out there for young entrepeurs who just want to make quick money legally. Therefore, just prove a full explanation of your opinion.

over 5 years ago


secured personal loan rates

Now then, have you ever heard that famous Chinese quote; "You Can't Save a Fish from Drowning." Well, on Wall Street, when an investment doesn't make sense for institutional investors, or becomes too risky, investment banks will not offer it any longer to their best clients.

about 5 years ago



ocial media is important, as is search, to traffic generation. But they are each one tool in a well rounded strategy. It's folly to lean on any singular method to get traffic to a site to the exclusion of all others, because if your strategy fails or its effectiveness changes over time, you're putting your entire business at risk.

about 4 years ago

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