Marketers Adopt Emerging Channels

March 19, 2010

More than eight in 10 marketers plan to leverage at least one emerging marketing channel in the next 12 months, according to [pdf] a new study from marketing technology provider Unica.

Almost Everyone Uses or Will Use Emerging Channels
The internet, combined with broad consumer adoption of mobile, social and rich media technologies, has set in motion a chain reaction in the fragmentation of media and the proliferation of marketing channels. The list of emerging marketing channels continues to grow at an astounding pace.


A very high proportion (84%) of marketers said that they plan to leverage at least one emerging marketing tactic (rich media, mobile marketing, or social media) in the next year. Only 14% do not currently use any emerging marketing channels and do not plan to do so within 12 months.

Social Media is Most Popular Emerging Channel
The three major emerging marketing channels: social media, rich media, and mobile, all have high rates of current and expected usage among marketers. However, social media (e.g., blogs, Facebook, user communities), is by far the most popular of the three.


Forty-seven percent of respondents currently use social media marketing. Another 23% plan to use it in the next 12 months, and 10% plan to use it beyond the next 12 months. Another 11% have no plans to use social media marketing, and 9% don’t know or are unsure.

Rich media marketing (e.g., video, podcasts, virtual worlds) has the next-highest percentage of current users (39%). Reflecting its lower current usage rate, rich media marketing has slightly higher percentages for future usage than social media marketing – 28% in the next 12 months and 14% beyond the next 12 months, respectively. Percentages for having no plans to use it or being unsure are virtually identical to those for social media marketing.

Mobile marketing (e.g., SMS, mobile websites, mobile apps) is clearly a step below social media and rich media marketing in popularity. Thirty-three percent of respondents currently use mobile marketing, with 24% planning to use mobile marketing in the next 12 months and 13% planning to use it beyond the next months. Twice as many respondents (20%) have no plans to use mobile marketing as have no plans to use social or rich media marketing.

Facebook, Twitter Grow More than 100%
The popularity of social media marketing is understandable considering that the Facebook and Twitter social networking sites both experienced triple-digit growth in 2009, according to research from comScore.

Facebook surged to the number one position among social networks for the first time in May 2009 and continued its strong growth trajectory throughout the year, finishing with 112 million visitors in December 2009, up 105% from about 55 million visitors during 2008. Twitter finished the year with nearly 20 million visitors to its website, up 900% from just 2 million visitors in 2008. Much of Twitter’s extraordinary audience growth occurred during the first few months of 2009, at one point jumping from 4 million visitors to 17 million visitors between February and April.

About the Survey: The Unica Global Marketing Survey was fielded to more than 150 online and direct marketing professionals in partnership with Salloway & Associates. Online surveys were completed in Q4 2009 within two geographic regions among Unica customers and prospective customers. North America represents respondents from the US and Canada. Europe represents respondents from 12 European countries that are large technology markets.

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