Yes, we’re talking about the social media train leaving the station. TV budgets are projected to grow 11% over the next four years. At the same time, social media budgets are projected to grow 65% (eMarketer, Business Insider). And 56% of senior-level marketers say that their investment in digital and social channels will exceed their investment in traditional media within one year (ThinkVine, April 2014).
In short, if social media is in your marketing plans for the future, then you’re already living in the past.
Marketers who’ve made the move away from traditional are no longer the minority. Take Nike, for example, which has decreased its investment in TV and print by 40% in just three years. This despite growing the brand’s overall marketing budget, with a significant concentration of those dollars on social channels. “An ongoing two-way dialogue with consumers is…a critical element of our digital ecosystem,” said CEO Mark Parker. “It provides us insights that drive innovation, strengthens consumer connections to our brands, and provides a platform for consumers to interact with each other. Through our social media platforms, we leverage the power and passion of sport to deepen our relationship with our consumers.”
And the company has grown, too, with the value of its stock having risen more than 25% in just a year.
So what keeps brands on the sidelines? Often, there are concerns about whether or not social channels drive sales. But reports show that the top 500 Internet retailers don’t share those concerns, as the group generated a combined $2.69 billion in social shopping sales in 2013, up 60% from 2012.
Opponents will look at that, however, and counter that it’s still a small piece of the pie. But within that $2.69 billion is news that the ecommerce generated from these sales came at an average AOV of $55 (Facebook) and $65 (Pinterest).
And most of these numbers only account for a user seeing a social post and immediately buying the product(s) in question. It doesn’t begin to touch on the way most social users navigate the shopping process, known as first click behavior. In this instance, users may engage with a piece of content, spend some time on the website and leave for a while. Or they’ll pin an item to a Pinterest board to plan for the future, then visit a brick and mortar store a few weeks later and make their purchase.
Every day, the tools that track this type of behavior get more and more robust. And every day that a brand spends on the sidelines, holding off on investments in digital and social channels, they fall farther and farther behind.