Posted May 14, 2009 10:13 am by with 14 comments

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If you’ve not stopped popping champagne since we published Forrester’s predictions for social media marketing, you might need the Alka-Seltzer after you see eMarketer’s contrary estimates.

Not good with tables? Bottom line, eMarketer is predicting a 3% decline in social network ad spending in 2009. That decline comes after a 129% increase in 2007 and a 33% increase in 2008.

Why the contrast to Forrester? Two things to note. eMarketer has revised its data based on the gloomy prediction from MySpace parent News Corp. Also, we’re not quite comparing apples with apples here. This decline is for social media advertising–we assume Forrester’s prediction includes other marketing and PR efforts that utilize social media.

Still, however you wish to dice it, don’t go bankrolling that house on the beach based on being a "social media guru." It might be that a condo is more appropriate. 😉

  • To be honest I don’t think many of us “Social Media Gurus” are really going to be affected by the reduction in advertising. Studies over and over have shown that banner advertising, even PPC on these social networks give back relatively low ROIs. What companies are interested in more now is formulating more of a viral marketing or word-of-mouth strategy. Essentially it’s more important to build relationships within your niche, than buying banner ads.

    Andy Sauter’s last blog post..9 out of 10 of my new followers want to tell me how to EXPLODE my Twitter following

  • Well this is just depressing news. I was so excited over over the last post but this just makes me nervous. I guess I will get over it next year.

    Franklin Bishop’s last blog post..Why Social Bookmarking Links Are Effective

  • Totally agree with Andy. It’s not about advertising, it’s about brands learning to integrate social media strategies into their other marketing efforts. Customers are showing us that they no longer want to be shouted at, by banner ads, billboards or other traditional means of advertising. Instead, they prefer to be engaged. So, while these numbers are interesting, it won’t really affect the brands smart enough to enlist the help of social media strategists as an integral part of their marketing and branding efforts. In my humble opinion. As a non-expert and non-guru of anything 🙂


  • Dave Zuls

    Not surprising. IMO – Online advertising is all about inertia and momentum.

    Inertia is the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body moving in straight line to stay moving in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.

    Momentum is where the faster an object is moving, the harder it is to stop.

    For example… If someone is busy socializing with friends and not researching products or ready to buy anything, you will be wasting your money on direct response ads.

    In that situation, the consumer’s inertia & momentum are working against you. Getting the consumer to stop what they are doing or abruptly change direction is very difficult.

    If you can match your ads with the speed and direction of the consumer, you win.

  • This is not surprising, primarily due to the various ways to leverage & monetize social media. Andy, remember all of those SEM/SEO studies and prediction trends 6-8 years ago? They were all over the map from “credible” research companies. While forecast models have improved, it’s still a he-said, she-said with these types of studies with skewed numbers and biases. For effectiveness, not sure if “advertising” is the most ideal model for social media as the eMarketer study indicates. I’ll see the glass half full and put more weight in Forrester’s report which viewed social media spending more holistically (I’m betting the beach house on that, of course).

  • @Scott – you’re right, forecast models are still highly unreliable–that’s why companies are constantly changing them. 😉

  • The social marketing scene has been really fascinating to watch. Everyone was clamoring about how social media ROI just wasn’t working out and the CPMs just didn’t make sense. However it seems now that everyone is slowly accepting this to be fact and using it as a great brand play to better humanize their company and interact with their loyal customers. Plus in a down economy this is expected.

    Clean Cut Media’s last blog post..Twitter Statistics: Visitor Growth

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