The Society of Digital Agencies (SODA) has just released its 2012 Digital Marketing Outlook. The study includes opinions and predictions from smaller marketers as well as those that rank in the Fortune 200. There’s little question that digital continues to take a larger part of the marketing pie, but some advertisers will be relying heavily on earned and owned media this year.

The SODA study shows that smaller businesses have moved a significant portion of marketing expenditures online while larger businesses are shifting to the platform more slowly. For the most part, big companies still spend less than 10% of their marketing dollars online. In 2012, here are the percentages of businesses that will allocate the following percentages for online marketing:

  •  0-9% 17% (17% of businesses will spend up to 9% of marketing online)
  • 10-19% 11%
  • 20-29% 13%
  • 30-39% 11%
  • 40-49% 8%
  • 50-59% 10%
  • 60%+ 33%

This survey also provides great insight into how marketers are cutting costs by moving digital. In looking at the 3 categories of media, the trend is clear. When marketers consider paid traditional media, 11% are significantly decreasing this line item and another 27% are somewhat decreasing this expense. The largest increases will occur in paid digital media; 42% of marketers will somewhat increase their spending, and in earned/owned media 41% of marketers are somewhat increasing expenses. In addition, 25% of marketers plan to significantly increase their investment in earned/owned media. These analysts also say that when a dollar is cut from print or TV, it becomes $.20 in digital media.

To back their interest in earned media, companies will be turning to word-of-mouth through blogger outreach and publishing online video on free channels. The top focus on the owned media silo will be building branded social channels and branded websites. To bring traffic to these sites, marketers will improve their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. And then there’s paid media. The findings of this survey show that paid search, sponsorships, and video ads will benefit from more spending. Look for less emphasis on in-game ads and improved ‘storytelling’ with integrated sponsorships.

[Source: Q1 2012 Digital Marketing Outlook. Society of Digital Agencies. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2012]