Maybe I'm a "cup is half-full" sort of guy, or maybe my perspective as head of a social media agency makes me biased (it no doubt does), but I was thrilled with this number. Social media marketing is a very new discipline and companies are just now getting their toes in the water. In addition, there are many social media marketing tactics that can be tried internally, with little outside cost, but virtually every banner ad has to be paid for. (For proof of that point, see the post script below.)
Some have suggested that social media will be the end of advertising as we know it. Or that social media will fundamentally change public relations and perhaps signal the death knell for the press release.
I don't agree with this statements. Social media marketing, and using social media agencies, is another tool in the toolbox for smart marketers. The new tool no more replaces advertising or PR than a new wrench replaces a screwdriver or a hammer. But depending on the job you need to do at that moment, you're pretty happy to have all three options.
The fact that 7.8% of online marketing budgets were dedicated to social media campaigns in July, August and September of 2007 was a pleasant surprise to me. I got $5 bucks that says that number is 250% higher in Q3 of 2008. Any takers?
P.S. See in the chart above how marketers report spending 0.0% of their budget on virtual worlds? First of all, I know that some money was spent on virtual worlds marketing. But more than that, these same folks in the chart below reporting using virtual worlds for marketing. If both charts are true, that means that some marketers used virtual worlds, but did not pay to do so. Evidence that some social media experimentation is happening in house? I suspect so.