NEW YORK: Marketing budgets could increase by almost 10% in the US over the next 12 months, with social media set to benefit as a result, a study has found.

Duke University and the American Marketing Association surveyed 574 senior executives representing businesses in the Forbes Top 200, Fortune 1,000, CMO Club and AMA's membership base.

When asked to assess the condition of the economy, scores came in at 55.6 points, having recorded 57.8 points in a similar report in February 2010, and 56.5 points in August 2009.

The number of respondents more optimistic about revenue prospects for their own firm compared to the last quarter fell from 68.9% in the second month of this year to 63.9% at present.

Elsewhere, 62% of contributors thought volume purchase levels would improve, 52% said shoppers were likely to acquire more related goods and services and 50% argued their company was now better at retaining customers.

The entry of first-time buyers posted 43%, but increases in unit price registered a rating of just 25%.

Most positively, marketing budgets were pegged to rise by 9.2% in the coming year, an uptick on 5.9% in February 2010, 1.1% in August 2009 and 0.5% in February 2009.

However, traditional advertising spend was forecast to decline 0.6%, measured against anticipated cuts of 2.5% in the analysis published earlier this year.

Customer relationship management was the only other area that witnessed a contraction, sliding 1.6% to 8.3% on six months ago.

Online saw growth from 12.2% to 13.6% in this period, figures standing at 3.9% to 7.2% in turn regarding the launch of services , 6.9% and 8.3% for brand building, while new product introductions was static on 9.1%.

Social media's share of expenditure is predicted to rise from 5.9% this year to 9.9% in the next 12 months, and 17.7% in five years time, with B2B specialists especially keen on this platform.

In establishing the effectiveness of these efforts, 47.6% of organisations use statistics like hits and page views, with repeat visits on 34.7%, conversion rates on 25.4% and the amount of followers on 24%.

Sales delivered a total of 17.9%, ahead of revenue per customer on 17.2%, internet buzz on 15.7% and the Net Promoter Score on 7.5%.

Looking to growth strategies, improving penetration was mentioned by 46% of those polled as an area due to receive greater funding in the next 12 months.

Slightly under a quarter expected new product development to be allocated more resources, as did 19% for market development and 12% when it came to identifying ways to diversify.

In terms of measuring payback, 37% of the sample tracked revenue data, falling to 21% for costs, 15% for customer retention, 14% for profits, 11% for brand value and 2% for a corporation's stock price.

The average consumer-facing firm utilised 7.4 types of media in campaigns, and 4.6 purchase channels, both above the norm.

Approximately 25% of companies evaluate the quality of the insights they receive, and 35% do the same in determining how this information impacts decision-making.

Data sourced from Duke University; additional content by Warc staff