Companies Plan to Increase Social Media Spending 144% Over the Next Five Years

Marketers are investing more in social marketing, but still struggle to quantify its benefits.


In the recent CMO Survey from Duke University, there was a sense of optimism — the trend for increased spending on social media continues. With social being more integrated into the strategy, social media teams are being brought in house and marketers are looking for ways to quantify their social media campaigns.

According to the survey, CMOs expect social media marketing to take up a bigger portion of their budgets over the next five years. In fact, the survey indicates that social media spending will become 18 percent by 2019, an increase of 144 percent over current levels. As they spend more of their budgets on digital tactics, companies continue to spend less money on traditional advertising.

So it makes sense that companies would incorporate social media strategy into their in-house marketing teams… sort of. There are currently up to five in-house social media employees for every two outsourced. While just a year ago, this number was relatively even, in-house social media staff is now double that of outsourced staff, according to the report. However, even though the teams might be moving in-house, social is not fully integrated into the marketing strategy.


Measuring the impact of social media is a particular challenge for marketers. The report indicates that while marketing teams have a good idea of the qualitative benefits of social, only 16 percent can quantify these benefits. And despite the increasing integration of social into the overall marketing strategy, nearly 50 percent of CMOs surveyed say they still can’t demonstrate the value.

The problem is likely that marketing teams don’t know what they want to measure. And while more companies are investing in analytics, only about 30 percent of the available or requested analytics are used within the company. Perhaps the reason for the low usage of analytics is that CMOs simply don’t rate its value very high. Of course, the low usage and the low value could feed into each other. Either way, the result is that analytics aren’t used to inform business decisions.

Featured image: DigitalRalph