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The Decline of Traditional Advertising and the Rise of Social Media

Forrester Research released its five year forecast that estimates interactive marketing spending from 2009 – 2014. Forrester predicts that interactive marketing in the US will near $55 billion and represent 21% of all marketing spend by 2014 and will include search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.

More significantly however, overall advertising in traditional media will continue to decline in favor of less expensive, more effective interactive tools and services.

Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk alerts marketing and media professionals with a dire warning, “The cannibalization of traditional media will bring about a decline in overall advertising budgets, death to obsolete agencies, a publisher awakening, and a new identity for Yahoo!”

The majority of budget appears to be earmarked for search marketing, even though the search landscape is rapidly evolving to include real-time updates and also social, community and micro networks. As a marketing professional seeking to tap into spending and visibility trends, take notice to activity in Mobile and Social Media over the next five years.

As mobile devices not only extend the collaboration and productivity capabilities that used to tether us to fixed locations, we’re also seeing the rise of new, highly interactive mobile platforms and networks that increasingly capture our attention and time. Spending growth over the next five years is compounded at 27% which makes it the second most notable growth factor behind Social Media with $1,274 (in millions) expected to fund mobile programs in 2014.

Social Media spending will increase to $3,113 (in millions) in 2014 from $716 in 2009 representing a compound annual growth rate of 34% – the highest percentage gain in the marketing mix. This spending activity also ranks it it as the third most prominent program behind search marketing and display advertising.

Dollars that are moving away from traditional advertising are now allocated towards “un” marketing activities that will earn stature, credibility and ultimately empower a more confident group of influential advocates through investments in innovation, research, customer services, customer experiences, and marketing-specific technology and IT staff.

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266 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Decline of Traditional Advertising and the Rise of Social Media”

  1. Kenneth Yeung says:

    Great blog post here, Brian. Way to put things simply about how the world is moving towards the web age when it comes to marketing and putting less money into traditional forms that just aren’t working anymore. I wouldn’t necessarily say that marketers are “abandoning” traditional advertising/marketing but I personally see the potential of using online resources as, like you said, they are cheaper to enact. This research from Forrester only strengthens that argument for going online. Plus there’s much more personalization and customization to actually “get to know” who your customers are. I think the military adage is “don’t spray and pray” – this is what the traditional advertising is doing, but with online means, you’re looking at where your customers are going and what their activity is online and that’s how you’re going to keep them as customers. Lastly, isn’t it also about portability and mobility? Your customers/community wants to have your content on the go or have multiple areas where they can learn more about your product, services and wares? If you’re just throwing it onto a press release or advertisement in the New York Times, what information is shared and how can this be spread virally? Thanks for writing this up. I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. paul merrill says:

    I was amused that all the discussion for this article is via twitter.

    When Twitter starts using advertising, they will KILL all.

  3. same23 says:

    As traditional print advertising decreases drastically, new Paid Search campaigns are indeed steadily on the rise.

  4. Mike says:

    On line resources on line are not one bit cheaper if you dont believe me go to ebay i bought cher russian dolls and it cost i bomb

  5. Mark Robinson says:


    I have found a great list over 50 ways to advertise your website at:

    I started using these are have been able to increase my sales.


  6. nd says:

    I’ve recently come across your article during some secondary research on social media and marketing for an employer. It’s fascinating how what you’ve suggested will happen in the next five years or so at the time has sped up quite dramatically.

    As 2010 comes to a close, it’s exciting to see social media efforts for business who gave a darn finally bear fruit. For those who didn’t they can try and catch up to the 120mph trend train.

    For small business watching from the sidelines, we get to work off the hunger to be big. Oh what a great 2011 it will be. Thanks for the archived post!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nice article – as a newcomer to the social advertising arena, it’s helpful to know these facts.

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