Driven by changes in consumer behavior and competitive forces, 80% of marketers say they plan to increase the volume of digital projects in 2011, with much of those investments focused on corporate websites and social technologies, according to a survey from AnswerLab.

Among the 80% of surveyed marketers planning increases in digital, 26% say they plan a significant increase and 54% plan a slight increase. Only 5% plan a decrease in their digital work in 2011.

Bellow, other findings from the 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook Survey conducted by the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) and AnswerLab.

2011 Investments in Digital

Overall, marketers plan to invest in five and one-half digital technologies or tools on average in 2011. Among brand marketers, the top-cited investments are in digital infrastructure (70%), social networks and applications (69%), digital brand experiences (67%), and mobile marketing (51%).

Blogger outreach (35%) and games (18%) are lower priorities for most brand marketers. Meanwhile, agencies plan to invest more aggressively in mobile (70%) and social technologies (77%).

Brands' Websites a Priority, Social a Close Second

Overall, 95% of marketers say they plan to use some type of social media in 2011. Corporate websites, however, remain a key priority among brand marketers (80%), followed by investments in Facebook (76%) and Twitter marketing (69%).

Similarly, agencies plan to be more active in social channels such as Facebook (96%), Twitter (89%), and blogs (75%)—as well as mobile Web marketing (73%) and mobile apps (72%).

More than two-thirds of surveyed marketers (67%)—and 76% of agencies—say they're increasing investments to focus on unpaid/earned media.

Meanwhile, 58% of brand marketers—and 66% of agencies—say they plan to increase investments in paid digital media, while just 14% of all marketers surveyed plan to increase investment in paid traditional media.

How Brands Use Social Channels

Asked to describe how they use social channels, brand marketers and agencies cite outbound communications most often, 77% and 81%, respectively.  Agencies (70%), meanwhile, are using social channels more actively than brand marketers (48%) to better understand their customers.

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Performance Metrics

Measuring brand and product awareness (61%) is the top measurement priority among surveyed marketers in 2011, while Web analytics metrics (58%) have surpassed traditional metrics such a page views (34%) and CPM (20%) in importance.

Social Tops Hiring Needs

Among the 95% of marketers who plan to use social media in 2011, 62% say their organizations have a role or resource dedicated to social. Even so, hiring for social media marketing tops the list of sought-after skill sets in 2011:

  • 31% of brand marketers –and 50% of agencies—plan to hire people with social marketing skills.
  • 27% of brand marketers –and 42% of agencies—plan to hire strategic and research planning talent.
  • 24% of brand marketers –and 36% of agencies—plan to hire people with digital brand management and measurement skills.
  • 22% of brand marketers—and 39% of agencies—plan to hire social media monitoring talent.

About the data: Findings are from the 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook Survey among 667 participants (199 brand marketers, 235 agency representatives, and 233 technologists ) in the digital space, conducted from late August to mid-October 2010.

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Marketers Up Spending on Digital, Social in 2011

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