Just 11% of US corporate social media ad budgets are targeting blogs and influencers online, where 86% of their key influencers are found, according to new research.
The findings, from Technorati Media's 2013 Digital Influence Report, indicates that despite rising spend on social media ads, the most desired influencers for brands are not being reached.
The report essentially suggest that one key influencer could be worth 1,000 random followers on Facebook or Twitter in terms of their subsequent influence on their audience.
Technorati Media's report found that just 10% of the total digital marketing budget is devoted to a social ad strategy. From the social media budget, 57% goes towards Facebook ad buys, 13% at YouTube video ads and another 13% at Twitter's sponsored tweets.
By contrast, just 6% is spent on influencers and 5% on blogs.
In terms of earned social media (free) campaigns are also geared towards metrics like Facebook Likes and Fans; Twitter followers and retweets; and traffic on the company's own website and landing pages.
The report found that the majority of influencers (59%) are mainly producing content on their blogs, with Twitter, Facebook and Google+ used to promote their works.
What influences the influencers?
According to the report, the biggest source of influence for bloggers for 18% of the bloggers surveyed is other bloggers, while 11% found colleagues to be very influential and Twitter was very influential for another 10% of the bloggers.
Technorati found that 61% of these influencers are reporting they get revenue from banner advertising, and 51% revenue from text ads.
The report suggests that brand marketers are using comScore/Nielsen to identify influencers, but given their niche and size, a lot of influencers are underrepresented in such metric services.
"Furthermore, when gauging the success of campaigns, where influencers are monitoring traffic/page views, brand marketers are measuring Facebook likes," the report detailed. This schism on metric priorities has led to both sides missing each other for the time being. A realignment of priorities is definitely needed to better tap the real potential of social media as an outreach tool to customers,” the report stated.
Technorati said 60% of advertisers predicted that social ad spending will increase this year, and that the average predicted increase was 40%.
However, the vast majority of their online spending still goes to display, search, and video advertising, with social only accounting for 10% of the total.
31.1% of the responding consumers said that blogs influence their purchases, compared to 56 percent saying they’re influenced by retail sites, 30.8% influenced by Facebook, and 8% influenced by Twitter.
The report concluded: “In short, where brands are spending is not fully aligned with how and where consumers are seeing value and being influenced. This has much to do with an essential hurdle faced by most content creators: a lack of metrics and the fragmentation that leads to their complexity as a purchasable medium.”
The company surveyed 1,200 consumers, 150 brand marketers, and 6,000 influencers in the US. Influencers were selected from Technorati’s company’s index of 2.5 million influencers, based on 6,000 responses from that index.