LONDON: Less than a quarter of European marketers have annual social media budgets surpassing $1m, a new study has revealed.

Forrester, the research firm, surveyed 264 senior executives in the region to gain an understanding of their attitudes and intentions regarding the social space.

It found that 50% of featured organisations were utilising platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and an additional 25% expected to do so in the near future.

However, only 5% of marketers reported that their budgets for this channel should top $5m during the course of 2011 as a whole.

A further 17% predicted their outlay would stand in the $1m to $4.9m range, and 14% placed probable spending figures between $500,000 and $1m.

Elsewhere, 7% of participants anticipated allocating over $250,000 but less than $499,000 to this medium, while 36% believed totals here were unlikely to exceed $249,000.

Moreover, 22% of executives did not know what their projected expenditure was, according to Forrester.

When identifying the major obstacles related to leveraging this channel, 17% of communications specialists mentioned proving the return on investment from such activity.

"Some brands say they have a success story but they can't actually prove or connect social media to real measures of success such as brand awareness or sales increases," Nate Elliott, a principal analyst at Forrester, told New Media Age.

Another 16% of interviewees cited a lack of certainty concerning the potential efficacy of their marketing efforts, something website owners must seek to rectify, Elliott suggested.

"The burden should be on Twitter and Facebook to provide that research but they don't have to at the moment because marketers are happy with the incorrect metrics," said Elliott.

Data sourced from New Media Age; additional content by Warc staff