NEW YORK: Almost two thirds of US marketers plan to increase their social media marketing expenditures during 2013, according to a new survey.

Vizu, part of the Nielsen information and measurement business, polled more than 500 digital marketing and media professionals on current attitudes and practices regarding paid social media advertising.

It found that all advertisers engaged with social media in some way, with 89% using free tools, such as pages, posts, likes and pins.

But most have only been using paid social media advertising for less than three years, with a fifth only starting in the past 12 months.

Three quarters currently invest in sponsored content, brand graphs and driving likes, with fully 64% of advertisers planning to spend more in the future.

The amounts involved in brands' social media budget increases vary but are likely to be comparatively small, with an increase of between 1% and 10% expected by 41% of respondents. A smaller proportion (15%) proposed budget increases of 11-20%, while 11% expected a rise of 21% or more. 

Over a third of those surveyed, 34%, said their budgets for paid social advertising would remain the same, while just 2% foresaw a decrease.

Less than half of advertisers have a specific paid social media ad budget, with 41% reporting such a facility.

For most, the increases in paid social media advertising activity will come from the budgets of other channels.

Offline channels will be hardest hit, as 39% of the survey expected to redirect money from here. Online display will also take a significant knock, with 23% cannibalising this budget.

Warc's recent "Seriously Social" study, based on analysis of nearly 800 case studies, argued marketers must be more rigorous about planning, budgeting and measuring their activity on this channel. It is available to Warc clients here, with a free sample for others here.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff