BERLIN: Social media marketing budgets are expected to rise rapidly in Germany during the next few years, a study has argued.

Schickler, the consultancy, surveyed 150 agency executives with responsibility for social media, and reported that, by 2014, this medium's share of spending could treble the current proportion of 5.6%.

Networks like Facebook and StudiVZ are due to take 57% of category expenditure in 2011, while review and recommendation portals accrue another 18%, and web communities secure 11%.

Among the core objectives of leveraging this channel at present are enhancing brand image, on 52%, and directly engaging customers, logging 33%, but only 5% of contributors mentioned sales targets.

Elsewhere, 24% of the sample described media owners as pioneers in the social space, with fashion specialists on 15% and consumer electronics manufacturers posting 12%, the same score as the auto and food sectors.

When asked which business divisions are best-placed to coordinate such activity, 39% of the panel agreed that a discreet, dedicated unit should assume overall control.

Corporate communications or PR staff received 28% on this measure, ahead of marketing and advertising teams with 22%, and board- or management-level executives, generating 11%.

Data sourced from Horizon; additional content by Warc staff