Digital Marketers Shuffle Budget to Boost Owned and Earned Media

As marketers look to integrate their advertising efforts into a more cohesive strategy, many are eyeing digital media, specifically owned and earned media.

According to a February report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), digital marketers worldwide are investing a greater portion of their total marketing budget online this year, which is not surprising given their familiarity with the medium. One third expect to invest 60% or more of their ad budget digitally.

Though both paid digital and traditional media were important investments, 25% of respondents planned to significantly increase their digital owned and earned media spend, compared to only 8% who planned to do the same for paid digital media and 4% for traditional media.

One reason for such a transition in spending could be the explosion of social media, and its growing importance in the marketing mix for both traditional and digital media.

“For a lot of advertisers, social is actually the bridge of their understanding between the traditional world and the digital space,” said Michael McVeigh, senior vice president of strategic services at Zeta Interactive, in a February 21, 2012, interview with eMarketer. “Social is where brands start to see how many people they have reached throughout their network, much like those big, overarching air powers of TV and radio.”

The focus on social media goes beyond marketing investment and affects organizational structure. Almost 73% of client-side marketers worldwide said they are transforming the structure of their marketing departments. Of those, 45.8% have created cross-departmental groups to leverage social media monitoring and other socially obtained insights throughout the company. In addition, about a third have specifically integrated social listening with their traditional research departments.

Incorporating earned and owned media, such as social media, into the marketing mix can also reduce overall advertising costs. A February 2012 study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found 84% of US advertisers said they currently face challenges in identifying cost savings and reductions for their 2012 marketing efforts. This number was up from 77% last year.

Though many B2B and B2C organizations trimmed costs through savings on travel and departmental expenses as well as agency costs, 53% of B2B marketers planned to reduce campaign advertising budgets. B2C marketers were less inclined to cut ad budgets, with only 44% planning to do so.

However, a greater number of B2C marketers (45%) looked to alter the marketing channel mix to reduce costs.

B2B marketers appeared less likely to reallocate their marketing mix—just 31% planned to do so in order to reduce marketing expenses.


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