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Social Overtakes Search, Poised for Dominance, Study Shows

9 May, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

PHILADELPHIA – Social media has surpassed search and is expected to overtake online display advertising as the main digital focus of advertising agencies, according to the latest industry data.

Sixty-nine percent of agency executives report social as the main focus of their digital ad spending, a 32-percent increase from the year before, according to a Strata survey. Display advertising is reported as the dominant digital focus of 71 percent media planners and buyers.

“The survey demonstrates that there has been a shift from search – which has dominated the digital part of the business for the last five to 10 years – to social,” said John Shelton, Strata CEO and president.

While display ads remain in the No. 1 spot by just 2 percentage points, TV ad spend will be inflated this year due to the presidential election and the Olympics, Shelton added. Facebook continues to dominate the social world, with 85 percent of agency executives saying it was the social network they were most focused on, according tot Strata.

Social media has increasingly drawn the attention of consumers and advertisers alike over the past few years. A vast majority – 65 percent – of all adults with Internet access reported using social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace, on a regular basis, an increase of 61 percent from one year ago, according to a study by The Pew Research Center last year (Response This Week, Sept. 6, 2011); and total U.S. mobile and social media revenue, including consumer and business access, content, advertising and marketing, increased 30.2 percent to $45.4 billion in 2011, according to PQ Media’s forecast. Mobile and social media revenue rose at a compound annual growth rate of 28.7 percent from 2006 to 2011, and is expected to continue to grow at an accelerating 30.8 percent in 2012 (Response This Week, Feb. 15).

“’Social networks’ was the largest and fastest growing segment by far, increasing 45.9 percent to $2.3 billion in 2011,” PQ Media said.

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