Today marks an important milestone for Efficient Frontier and Context Optional with the release of our first joint quarterly State of Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2011. While Efficient Frontier’s quarterly reports have long been a trusted source of data in the digital marketing industry, we are excited to add even more valuable insights to our social media analysis, using data gleaned from Efficient Frontier’s clients as well as Context Optional’s client index representing more than 15 advertisers and 20 million fans from a multitude of verticals including retail, entertainment, CPG and finance.

Many key findings this quarter indicated how competitive Facebook is becoming in the digital marketing sphere, and show that the longer brands take to engage on Facebook, the more it will cost them in the long run. We also found that advertisers are focusing more on Return on Investment (ROI) than on volume, which resulted in slower growth compared to Q1 of last year. In addition, Bing/Yahoo’s ROI continues to improve, resulting in them gaining a percentage of Google’s coveted spend share. 

Key highlights in the Q2 report include:

  • Search spend growth slowed to 8%, down from 17% year on year in Q1 of last year. We believe this is due to advertisers focusing on ROI instead of volume, as well the slower than expected economic recovery.
  • Facebook advertising continues to get more competitive, with CPCs increasing 22% from Q1. This means that the longer brands wait to engage consumers on Facebook, the more expensive it will become to acquire fans.
  • Brands are increasingly focused on fan acquisition and engagement on Facebook. Between October 2010 and 2011, brands in our index are on track to double their Facebook fans. Consumers on Facebook are also increasing their engagement with brands. Our analysis reveals that one post made by a brand leads to 100 comments from consumers on average.
  • Bing/Yahoo! gained 3.4% points of spend share from Google since Q4.

For the 2011 outlook, we predict:

  • Facebook CPCs will continue to rise at a double-digit pace, and as a result, brands should not waste any time increasing their understanding and use of the channel, acquiring new fans and exploiting new ad formats such as Sponsored Stories.
  • Continued testing and investment in Facebook will see advertisers evaluate and likely increase their spend. Looking ahead, we believe that advertising dollars will shift from offline media to search, Facebook and display. While we believe all online advertising channels will continue to grow, the Facebook channel will show the strongest growth in the months ahead.
  • Bing/Yahoo! will benefit if ROI improvements continue.

To get the full story, download our State of Digital Marketing Report for Q2 2011.

Dr Siddharth Shah
Sr. Director, Business Analytics