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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 30, 2011

In 2012 social marketing will shift from monitoring to action

If 2011 is marked ad the year brands monitored social networks, 2012 will be the year brands begin acting on social feedback, says one expert. Added to that, business to business brands, as well as business to consumer, will move into the social space.

by Kristina Knight

"In 2012, companies will start looking beyond the brand toward reporting solutions that reveal insights on specific hotels, store branches, restaurant locations and more," said Borge Hald, Medallia CEO. "Specific location-based data will help employees pinpoint and alleviate customer concerns faster. [Also] technology has emerged that optimized the survey experience on specific devices. Mobile is a powerful channel to receive feedback and close the loop 'in the moment'. We'll see growth around mobile data collection, mobile reporting and mobile technology such as text-based surveying and QR codes."

How important is social? Experian Hitwise reports Facebook was the top-searched term in the US marketplace for 2011. This is the third straight year the social network was the top-searched term; four variations of the word were in the top ten searches for the year.

"Navigational searches dominated the top search results as users typed in terms versus typing in the URL in the browser bar,"said Simon Bradstock, general manager of Experian Hitwise. "Hitwise saw 11% growth of single-word searches in 2011 as terms like 'face' and 'you' made the top 50 searches. Marketers need to be particularly brand-savvy when managing their search optimization campaigns because of this behavior, which is a result of predictive search functionality across major search engines."

According to a recent StrongMail survey, 2012 will see significant growth in both email and social marketing budgets; 68% of respondents say they'll work to integrate email and social in the coming year. More than half (55%) plan to increase social spending while 60% say they'll increase email budgets for 2012. Other increases will be seen in mobile (37% spending increase) and search (37% increase). The biggest challenge, say most respondents, will be integrating customer data into marketing efforts.

Meanwhile 'alternative' social networks - sites like Tumblr and Pintrest - are getting more play, especially with consumers. According to Experian/Hitwise Pinterest is now one of the top 10 sites within Hitwise's Social category, getting 11 million visits the week of December 17. Comparatively, the week ending June 18 received 40 times fewer hits.

Sites like Tumblr encourage users to share images or short, micro-blog type posts. The 'quick hits' style have appealed to publishers like Mother Jones and The Atlantic. These publishers aren't just linking to their own copy, they're sharing information they find interesting - which is driving engagement with the consumer base.

While these sites aren't driving a ton of revenue for publishers are advertisers, they're 'adding value' to consumers following advertisers or publishers. Moving in to 2012, that added value shouldn't be ignored.

Tags: Experian Hitwise, Medallia, social marketing, social marketing trends, social network integration, social networks, StrongMail

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