A survey of more than 100 communications and marketing professionals at leading global brands in the U.K. found that almost 70 percent have assigned marketing spend to social media campaigns, including blogging and viral projects, in 2006, according to Lewis PR. A year ago, less than 30 percent indicated that they had any budget available for online communications.

More than 10 percent of those questioned have assigned over half of their 2006 marketing spend to the development and implementation of social media campaigns.

“The U.K. has been in the shadow of the U.S. in terms of new media adoption for years, but trends are shifting,” says Ilona Hitel, vice president of marketing at Lewis. “Businesses are beginning to experiment with the range of digital media tools available as increasing scepticism is being put on the effectiveness of traditional media.

 “Tactics such as blogging have become commonplace in the marketing mix, as businesses learn, often the hard way, that the digital medium cannot be ignored.”