Spending on social is up, but is it going to the right...

Spending on social is up, but is it going to the right place?

Brands are starting to put money in content with the highest consumer trust – blogs and influencers – but their spend isn’t matching the opportunity these content areas offer. Consumers self report that blogs have eclipsed traditional endemic sites (magazines, newspapers, etc.) in terms of driving their influence and purchase intent and yet are only receiving a minority of brands’ ad spending.

More than half of brand managers expect an increase in social advertising, which includes blogging and influencer outreach, according to highlights coming from Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report (full report due Feb. 2013).

That’s a step in the right direction, as blogs were found to be third-most influential (31%) when making overall purchases, only behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%). But brands may still be missing an opportunity in their digital messaging campaigns, as blogs were even found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source for overall information on the internet.

“Blogs are one of the most influential mediums, but brands aren’t investing in them enough to reap the rewards of their influential relationship with consumers,” Technorati Media CEO Shani Higgins said. “They’ve become the new endemic publishers that brands should be paying attention to. When it comes to making purchasing decisions, blogs have shown to be just as influential to consumers as Facebook, which gets exponentially more budget attention.”

Spending on social, which includes influencer outreach, currently makes up only 10 percent of brands’ digital marketing spend. Of that social budget, more than half goes to Facebook. YouTube and Twitter each get 13 percent, while about a total of 12 percent is spent on influencers and advertising on blogs.

Since 2004, Technorati Media’s annual report has followed growth and trends in the business of digital influence. This year, more than 7,500 overall users participated. Of those, more than 1,200 took part in the consumer survey; more than 6,500 took part in the influencer survey; and representatives from 150 brands participated.

A full version of the report will be released the first week of February. To sign up to be alerted as soon as it’s ready, click here.

Technorati Media asked brand managers …

What’s the breakdown of your digital messaging budget?
Mobile 8.04%
Display ad 40.68%
Social ad* 10.35%
Video 14.11%
Programmatic Buys 2.77%
Search 19.35%
Other 4.70%
* includes influencer campaigns
Of the money spent on social, where is that going?
Facebook 57.42%
YouTube 13.00%
Twitter 12.56%
Blogs 5.65%
Influencer 5.87%
Pinterest 1.55%
Other 3.94%
Will your digital messaging budget decrease, increase or stay the same in the coming year?
Decrease Same Increase
Mobile 2.07% 19.31% 78.61%
Social Advertising* 2.76% 37.93% 59.31%
Video 6.21% 35.17% 58.62%
Search 1.38% 62.07% 36.55%
Display Advertising 22.76% 46.21% 31.03%
Programmatic Buys 7.59% 71.72% 20.69%
*includes influencer campaigns