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Feb 15 11

Social Media Set to Surpass Search Engines as No. 1 Marketing Tool

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If the folks at Google look in their rearview mirror, they’ll see Facebook dogging them in the online marketing mix. According to a new study, social media marketing is on track to topple classic search engine marketing for the hearts and minds of consumers, and Facebook is the lead dog.

Online marketing has become a business necessity, covering everything from lead generation and public relations campaigns to search engine marketing and social media marketing.  But social media marketing is making the biggest strides, according to the report prepared by DoNanza, a job search engine for freelancers.

Social media marketing projects grew 67 percent last year from 2009. And social media’s share of all projects jumped to 35 percent in 2010, compared with 29 percent the previous year.

Facebook dominated social media projects, the report found, with projects ranging from creation of fan pages to application development and segmented advertising. Twitter was No. 2,  with projects to help businesses create viral marketing tools as well as customer communications and customer service.

“This shift towards social marketing indicates that businesses believe that the potential value of social marketing is higher than any other online marketing channel,” said Liran Kotzer, chief executive of DoNanza.

“I believe there are many reasons for this.  First, the huge number of people spending their time on social environments such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, and the fact that social networks are here to stay and people are learning how to use them for business. In addition, many social media campaigns are more visible and easier to measure and understand than some of the methods used in search engine marketing.”

Another social area showing considerable growth, DoNanza said, was the daily deals and group coupon space.

“We have seen hundreds of businesses wishing to create a clone of Groupon and other, similar services, such as livingsocial.com, in their respective cities and countries,” Kotzer said.

There’s also more money in social for marketers; typical social marketing projects offered to freelancers were budgeted higher, at $1,090 on average, than search marketing, at $683.

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Tags: Facebook, Google, social media, Social Network, Social networking, Twitter

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