Marketers' use of social media and mobile marketing has steadied over the past year, whereas the use of viral online video (e.g., use of YouTube) has continued to grow, according to the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) 2012 Digital and Social Media Survey.

Among the US marketers surveyed:

  • Viral online video (e.g., use of YouTube) has registered the sharpest increase of all media platforms: 80% are using the channel in 2012, compared with 64% one year earlier.
  • Social media use has remained nearly flat, up slightly to 90% in 2012, from 89% in 2011.
  • Mobile marketing use is also holding steady, now at 74%, compared with 75% in 2011.

Importantly, some 17% of marketers say they began using mobile in 2012 (i.e, it's their first year), and another 17% plan to start using mobile in 2013, according to the report.

Below, additional findings from The 2012 Digital and Social Media Survey, by the ANA.

Companies with higher revenue are more likely to use viral video: 95% of marketers working in companies earning more than $10 billion annually use viral video, compared with 75% of those in companies earning less than $10 billion per year.

Top Digital Media Tactics

Among the various social platforms, Facebook (96%) is the most popular among surveyed marketers, followed by Twitter (89%), LinkedIn (49%), and Pinterest (33%).  

In the mobile space, 70% of marketers are using branded mobile apps, while 67% are using QR codes; only 25% are using mobile video ads.

In addition to relying heavily on social media, mobile, and online video, marketers are also using Web-based channels such as websites (95%), email marketing (91%), and online advertising (89%) to reach customers.

Top Platforms With an ROI Process

Among the marketers surveyed, search engine marketing (paid keyword) (90%), company websites (89%), email (88%), and online ads via third-party websites (88%) are the tactics most likely to be measured.

Marketers lag in measuring the ROI of newer platforms: 60% are measuring the effectiveness/ROI on their social media efforts, and only one-half (50%) are doing the same for their viral video marketing. However, 70% of marketers are measuring the effectiveness of mobile.

Other key findings: 

  • Though 70% of marketers are now using newer media platforms to reach their customers, 62% say the inability to prove ROI is a top concern.
  • Given a list of 19 newer media metrics, only one metric (purchase) garnered a top effectiveness rating (by roughly 55% of the marketers surveyed).
  • Marketers identified a variety of metrics they believe the industry needs to better define. At the top of that list were momentum effect (41%), the value of a fan/follower (40%), and advocacy (39%).
  • Social media monitoring appears to be shifting to a combination of in-house and outsourced efforts: The percentage of marketers who say they solely outsource their social media monitoring decreased from 33% in 2011, to 26% in 2012.

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 224 client-side marketers from April to May 2012.

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