CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts: Over 50% of US marketers plan to increase their outlay on social media in the next six months, with the relatively low cost and high flexibility of the medium cited as two key reasons behind this trend, reports research firm Forrester.

The internet is the only medium expected to enjoy meaningful growth during the advertising and media recession in America, though online search is likely to be the main beneficiary of this trend.

Forrester surveyed 145 global interactive marketers, each with more than 250 members of staff, in the business-to-consumer and B2B sectors.

It found that 53% of marketers will increase their expenditure on social media in the next six months, while 42% will maintain their current spending levels, and just 5% will decrease it.

Over 60% of respondents also plan to increase their investment in blogging, user-generated content and mobile marketing, and more than half will raise their outlay on online search and web video.

Podcasting, email marketing, widgets and RSS are other areas where expenditure is likely to grow.

At the other end of the spectrum, around 40% of advertisers are set to decrease their online display adspend, while just under 20% will do the opposite.

Of those participants who had finalised their budgets, some 75% will spend up to $100,000 on social media in the next 12 months, compared with just over 10% with an outlay between $100,000 and $200,000.

Many respondents reported that social media did yet constitute a fixed element of their budgets, with 45% securing funding for campaigns on this medium on an ad hoc basis, and a further 23% generating finance from any available source.

Data sourced from AllThingsD; additional content by WARC staff