Interactive Marketing Spend Will Near $77 Billion By 2016
When we talk about interactive marketing, we’re talking about marketing efforts that engage the user directly and, oftentimes, specifically. Whether it’s display advertising, search, mobile, email or social media marketing, these types of interactive engagement are becoming more popular and, as a result, better funded by advertisers.

Interactive Marketing Growth

According to Forrester's recent report, US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2011 To 2016, by 2016 interactive marketing spend will near US$ 77 billion. To put that in context, US$ 77 billion is about what advertisers spend on television. Overall, that’s a 35% growth over what is currently spent. But that doesn’t mean that advertisers will be dumping all their money into social media or search marketing. Though interactive media has become a more viable strategy, marketers are still trying to figure out just how exactly it works.

5 Years to Master Marketing

As a result, this prediction is based more on the assumption that in the next five years, advertisers will have figured out how to successfully integrate new media into their customer engagement strategies. Looking for a hint? Forrester also estimates that it will include less search marketing (though it will dominate overall) and more display media (provided that there isn’t a comprehensive Do Not Track initiative standing in its way). As well, mobile marketing will prevail, with the most growth in spending predicted -- thanks in part to an increase in tablet adoption.

In five years, who knows what social media will look like? Accordingly, advertisers’ reservations about social media are likely to remain the same. While social media marketing spending will grow, it will do so moderately. Advertsing within social networks, whatever they are, will be among their top priorities, followed by investments in research and development.

A Forecast of Possibility? 

While it’s hard enough to plan for the next quarter, marketers may want to use these forecasts as a guide for the road ahead. For any investment, putting all your eggs in one basket is hardly recommended; instead of trying to capitalize on what’s popular now, it may make more sense to think strategically about where social media and mobile media will be in five years. As well, think about the changing demographic. In five years, those who are have just enrolled in college will be driving new media initiatives, while the rest of us may still be clinging to “old” media, like our iPhones and Androids.

Yet, marketing has never been about the future. It thrives on where we are and what we want now, so while forecasts like this may help us imagine a new world of possibilities, most likely it serves to overwhelm us even more.