Social media purported to see uptick in ’09 ad spending

Over 80% of marketers support shifting some of their budget to social media, according to an annual opinion poll which also finds Canadian consumers rate traditional media as the more credible information source.

Despite the economic downturn, new data reveals some interesting increases in ad spending for 2009. Marketers will shift spending into social media, according to the second annual Social Media Barometer, a survey of over 400 business and marketing leaders and thousands of Canadian consumers across the country. The poll was conducted by Toronto-based Pollara Strategic Insights for com.motion, the social media marketing division of Toronto’s Veritas Communications.

The study reveals that while social media still suffers a trust gap compared with traditional media, it’s gaining in influence, with Facebook in particular seen as the dominant social network in Canada.

While 59% of consumers say social media is a credible source of information for choosing products, services, organizations or brands, that number lags behind traditional media in credibility – 70% of Canadian consumers opted for newspapers and 67% for radio and television.

Just 4% of marketers say they are planning increases in TV advertising, while 37% say they plan to cut back on TV buys in 2009 and 32% will cut newspaper advertising.

Meanwhile, 82% of Canadian business leaders and senior marketers say they plan to shift some of their marketing spend to social media in 2009, with 70% suggesting the smarter move in tough economic times is to divert dollars towards social and digital media.

Up dramatically from 54% when the survey was taken a year ago, 78% of marketers say senior management supports greater investment in social media – a shift, the report says, that may be due in part to ‘an increasing understanding of social media among business leaders in Canada.’ The number who say they are less familiar than their customers about social media has fallen to 17%, down from 26% a year ago.