The Pearlfinders U.S. Index tracks topics from over 4,000 conversations with senior marketing executives in the US per year, aggregating their opinion by trend and topic. Of the 224 digital-specific briefs profiled in Q3, nearly a third of interviewees were looking at their digital media support this quarter.
Echoing findings in paid search from Efficient Frontier's report, investment in digital channels among the travel/hospitality industry seemed to be bouncing back after a flattened Q2. While Efficient Frontier records a significant increase in spending on search and increased competition for clicks:
Pearlfinder reports that social media became a key component of their digital strategy to re-assure travelers about the impact of such events as the gulf oil spill:
"The sector that saw the greatest increase when compared to Q2 (+6.5%) was Sports, Leisure & Hospitality. The lingering effects of the Gulf oil spill have given destination marketers cause to reassure consumers, addressing misconceptions about the region through digital channels, which have been key to providing up-to-the-minute news and information for concerned travelers."
Of marketers surveyed 61.2% discussed Facebook and 44.2% discussed Twitter, which was a significant increase over the past two quarters. However, with most brands having established a social media presence the race for follower counts is over and brands are now looking at how to convert 'earned media', such as followers and fans, into customers. Objectives for both channels were distinctly different, with "Facebook seen as a platform for fostering conversations and Twitter for connecting with consumers on the move, wherever they are."
Also of note in the report is that Mobile continued to see growth as a marketing channel across all sectors - with location based targeting being of particular interest in the retail sector and consumer packaged goods (CPG) campaigns looking at QR codes as a means to create direct engagements with consumers. Apps for iPad and BlackBerry's PlayBook were also on the agenda.
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