When you start hearing about social media taking up more budget rather than having to struggle for dollars and attention, it's clear that the practice is gaining in legitimacy.
Remember the days of having to gently introduce the concept, or of having to prove that in fact it's something that's a coming trend? We had to deal with skeptics - the same type of people, who maybe less than 10 years ago, doubted that the Internet was going to catch on. And we've had to deal with a struggling economy and limited funding.
Things are a little different now. In fact, you might say that things are actually looking up. I think part of it may be that the tough economy forced marketers to be more savvy and frugal about their efforts, and social media became a natural receptacle for the underfunded. As such, it's grown in stature and maturity, and with the rise of the awareness of social networks in the general public, it's only going to get larger.
When you compare the spending on social media marketing from August 2009 to February 2010, overall there's an increase of 60% in the budgets (from 3.5% to 5.6%). Similarly, the planning for the next one to five years shows a similar level of consideration as well: in August 2009, social media spending was thought to be 6.1% for the next year and 13.7% for the next five years; and now, it's more like 9.9% in the next year and 17.7% in the next five years.
And since this was a survey of CMOs, it's a good indication that these budget predictions may get some traction, rather than just being a fond wish of pundits. It's a relief to see something that doesn't resemble a death spiral in this economy.
Photo credit: emrank (Flickr)