Social media spend to top £1.9bn by 2014

Forrester Research has thrown some figures behind what everybody already knows, that social media marketing budgets are set to explode over the next five years, predicting average spend to grow at an annual rate of 34 per cent, faster than any other form of online marketing.

The company's newest Interactive Marketing Forecast estimates US social media spend to blow past the $3 billion (£1.9bn) mark by 2014, eclipsing both email and mobile, but remain a fraction of what is spent on search and display campaigns.

The phenomenal growth rate of social media spend (34 per cent) can be attributed to the channel's relatively low start base, currently about $700 million in the US.

On the other hand, search and display advertising, with 2009 spend hovering around $15 billion and $7 billion respectively, will grow substantially over the next five years.

In 2014, the US display ad market will have grown 17 per cent, to $16 billion, while search spend will surge 15 per cent to $31 billion.

Mobile (27 per cent growth) and email (11 per cent) spend will remain meagre 2014, at $1.2 billion and $2 billion each.

Overall, the online ad market will be worth $54 billion in the US, of course, at the expense of dramatic cuts to offline budgets.

Forrester predicts online spend to encompass 21 per cent marketing budgets in five years, up from 12 per cent in 2009, meaning offline spend will have no choice but to fall.

In fact, Forrester expects that "overall advertising budgets will decline" due to efficiencies gained in online spending.

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