64% of Leading US Social Media Marketers Plan To Increase Social Ad Spending in 2012

A February 2012 report by Microsoft Advertising, “Driving Word of Mouth with Social Advertising,” revealed that 55% of “top” social media advertisers worldwide are planning to increase their social media ad budgets in 2012, particularly those in the US and Brazil.

Report on Social Media Ad Spending via eMarketerIn both Brazil (81%) and the US (64%), a significant majority of leading social media marketers planned to increase social media ad budgets.  A minority of marketers expected to increase social media ad budgets in Singapore and France (both at 47%), the UK (42%), and Canada (38%).

According to eMarketer, Brazil will have 75.7 million social network users by the end of 2012, and an internet user penetration rate of 87.6% – so marketers have plenty of reason to increase their social budgets.

How are marketers spending their social ad budgets?  The agencies studied spend 48% of their social budget recruiting members, 39% on keeping them engaged, and 13% on “other activities to build or maintain their social media presence.”

The major goals of social media marketers were increasing word-of-mouth and brand strengthening (or “communicating brand stories”).  Top social marketers also agreed that these goals will remain important three years from now: 63% of survey respondents said branding issues will be “much more important” than they are today, and 47% said word-of-mouth campaigns will be “much more important.”

However, these social media marketers currently believe (on average) that only 35% of their word-of-mouth efforts actually reach their target audience.

The Microsoft report was based on a study of 714 “social media leaders” in the US, UK, France, Brazil, Canada, and Singapore, designed to explore how marketers view and use social media.