Forrester Predicts Strong Social Media Marketing Spending Will Continue To Increase Over The Course Of The Next 4 Years.

If you cast your mind back just a few years to the advent of the social media, few would have predicted that it would prove to be such a success.

Many business leaders at the time were very sceptical, and a few even went so far as to say that it had no future. It’s easy to say this with the benefit of hindsight, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. The social media has proved to be an unprecedented success. Just how successful can be judged by the latest predictions from Forrester.  The latest Forrester report is predicting that by 2017 European social media marketing spending levels will top €3.2 billion.

As far as the UK is concerned Forrester is predicting that social media spending will hit €816.5 million in 2017.

To put that in perspective, the latest spending figures for 2013 stand at €391.6 million; that’s an increase of over 105 percent. The reported spend in Europe will increase from €1.4 billion in 2013 to €3.2 billion in 2017. However, in spite of these astounding figures, Forrester is also issuing a warning to enterprise, and that is that as social networks mature, defining the ROI of social media marketing will get increasingly harder.

If that wasn’t enough to dampen enthusiasm, Forrester is also warning that any predicted growth in the European market could be undermined by the threat of new European privacy legislation. This legislation is expected to come into effect in 2016 and could potentially cut the predicted social media marketing spending growth by as much as £880 million. According to James McDavid, a researcher at Forrester, potential compliance costs might yet undermine the market:

“The full extent and implementation of the European privacy legislation is as yet uncertain, and the fractured manner in which such directives are applied across various European countries means that compliance costs for marketers will rise.”

“We do know, though, that the legislation will require the implementation of a ‘right to be forgotten,’ with increased fines for noncompliance. As a result, we believe that when the legislation comes into force in 2016, it will depress spending on social media marketing by around €401.9m in 2016 and €481.7m in 2017.”

On a more positive note Forrester is predicting that there will continue to be a growth of users on social media channels.

In 2017 Forrester is predicting that more than 70% of the online population in Western Europe will be engaged on social media – up from 63.4% 2013. If that isn’t impressive enough, then the predicted figures for the UK are even more encouraging. In 2017, 77% of the online population in the UK will be engaged online. That’s quite a potential market to target.

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