Social Media is Changing Balance of Power in Advertising: Publications–Dying? Social Media–Rising? It’s All About Community… Connections…

Social media is an ideal tool for moving people up the ‘fan’ ladder, from being a casual ‘fan’ of a brand to a loyalist, because the communication channels allow people to build stronger emotional connections with brands.

Social media advertising is the trend… and the future of advertising is social, which is very exciting. With the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, social media advertising surely has taken a new turn in the recent years. Studies show that every person (on average) has a network of around 6 to 14 people, and they share ‘ads’ with their community.

Social networks are ‘social’ and therefore respect and empathy are the minimum price necessary to earn attention… Without a genuine intent to offer value, trust is elusive.  It’s the difference between shouting ‘at’ people and speaking ‘with’ someone. Before you’re a marketer or advertiser, you’re a consumer. Bring that perspective to the marketing table is the difference between social network advertising and traditional online campaigns.

According to G. Melanson; Social media advertising is very targeted and based on information supplied by members of a social media service. While social media advertising has been hailed by some as a revolution in direct marketing, it has also brought about many privacy concerns.

The first step in social media advertising is acquiring members by encouraging people to sign up for a particular social medium, such as a social networking site. The more information the member provides, the easier they are slotted into a specific demographic for data aggregation, and subsequently targeted social media advertising.

Social Media Statistics: ‘By-the-Numbers’ by Staff writes: Interesting statistics on social media usage:

  • $400,000,000 in ad revenue is projected for Twitter by 2013, up from $139.5 million in 2011 (eMarketer)
  • 7,432,307 job changes have been tracked by LinkedIn since 2009 (LinkedIn)
  • 68% of social media users go to social networking sites to read product reviews (Nielsen)
  • 59% of B2B purchase decision makers use a smart-phone to research potential purchases (eMarketer)
  • 58% of social media users go to social networking sites to learn about or research products (Nielsen)
  • 1,600 advertisers are now using the Twitter platform for advertising (Twitter)
  • 53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand, while 32% follow a celebrity (Nielsen)
  • 40% of social media users access social media content from their mobile phones (Nielsen)
  • $1.23 billion will be spent by US advertisers on mobile advertising this year, up from $743 million in 2010 (eMarketer)

In the article “Social Media Advertising: Does It Work… or Doesn’t It?” by Paul Chaney writes:  The term ‘social media advertising’ is, to some, an oxymoron. They will tell you it doesn’t work for the simple reason that people don’t visit social networks to view advertising, but to interact with their community. It’s a mindset issue. You may be familiar with the recent report by ‘Knowledge Networks’, which found that less than 5% of social media users say they regularly turn to social media for guidance on purchase decisions, and only 16% say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.

However, for every person who says it doesn’t work, there is one who attests that it does. Yet, there is empirical evidence that it is working for some. So, does social media advertising work or doesn’t it? Yes, “if you know how to use it”. According to Dana Larson: Successful social commerce marketing is about soliciting structured feedback relevant to shopping and buying, and making this feedback available to customers making these purchase decisions. It does works when the right factors are in place, and here are four key elements:

  • Understand your targeted social media channel.
  • Target the correct users with your message.
  • Ensure the advertisements are supplementing the content on the social site.
  • Have a social networking presence.

In the article Measuring The Value Of Social Media Advertising” by Robin Wauters writes:  Nielsen and Facebook recently joined forces to develop ‘ad’ effectiveness solutions to determine consumer attitudes, brand perception and purchase intent from social media advertising. According to Nielsen, the report leverages six months of research consisting of surveys of more than 800,000 Facebook users and more than 125 individual Facebook ad campaigns from some 70 brand advertisers.

Nielsen looks at advertising from a ‘paid’ and ‘earned’ media perspective, whereby the second is considered advertising that is passed along to or shared among friends. The company took a look at 14 Facebook ad campaigns that incorporated the ‘Become A Fan’ engagement unit and sliced the effectiveness results three different ways, by each of the types of ‘ads’ available on Facebook:

  • ‘Lift’ from a standard ‘Homepage Ad’.
  • ‘Lift’ from an ad that featured social context or ‘Homepage ads with Social Context’.
  • ‘Lift’ from ‘Organic Ads’, news-feed stories that are sent to friends of users who engage with advertising on a brand.

Nielsen found that the first type of ‘ads’, on average, generated a 10% increase in ad recall, a 4% increase in brand awareness, and a 2% increase in purchase intent among users who saw them compared with a control group with similar demographics or characteristics who didn’t.

According to Nielsen, that increase in advertising recall jumped to 16% when ads included mentions of friends who were ‘fans’, and 30% when the ‘ads’ coincided with a similar mention in users’ newsfeeds. Intent for purchase climbed 2% higher among viewers of ‘homepage ads’ vs. ‘non-viewers’, but went up 8% either from ‘social ads’ or when ‘ads’ appeared alongside organic mentions of the brand in the news-feed.

Brand awareness went up 2% from just a ‘homepage ad’, 8% with a ‘social ad’, and 13% when a ‘homepage ad’ appeared along with a mention of friends who were ‘brand fans’ in the users’ newsfeeds.

In the article “Getting Started Social Media Advertising on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn” by Lee Odden writes:  For marketers just getting started with advertising on social media sites, here’s a quick primer on ‘ads’ for Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  As with organic social media marketing, each is appropriate according to your own goals…

 Facebook: Best practices ads:

  • Set goals.
  • Target your audience.
  • Make the product/service stand out.
  • Keep the ad simple.
  • Have a strong call to action.
  • Make sure ads point to relevant landing pages.

YouTube: Best Practices ads:

  • Keep it short; 60 seconds is a good benchmark.
  • Keep it engaging; Entertain, inform and be relevant.
  • Inspire, don’t just educate; Avoid focusing solely on being educational.
  • Deliver key messages early; Plan for user tune-out near the end of the video.
  • Include a call to action.

LinkedIn: Best Practices ads:

  • Create relevant ads.
  • Create multiple ads for each campaign.
  • Target the right audience.
  • Set an appropriate daily budget.
  • Understand how bidding works.
  • Improve performance; monitor click-through-rates,  experiment, then refine.

Twitter & LinkedIn: Continue to see strong advertisement growth, with Twitter’s revenue expected to nearly double between 2012 and 2014, according to a report by eMarketer. Twitter gets 90% of its revenue from U.S. advertisers, while LinkedIn depends more on foreign advertisers, with just 68% of its 2012 ad revenue expected to come from U.S. advertisers. eMarketer is projecting 83% revenue growth for Twitter this year, down from 233% growth in 2011, and 46.1% revenue growth for LinkedIn, down from 95% growth in 2011.

In the article “A Look At Trends in Social Advertising” by Lauren Fisher writes: We’re starting to see some really exciting and mind-blowing things being done through social advertising. I’m a huge advocate of companies combining their advertising and social media efforts, because it just makes good marketing sense.

A recent report by eMarketer looks at the renewed interest in social advertising – it comes in cycles – and finds that in the U.S. 6.7% of all online ads spending will go towards ‘social’. While the interest in social media has really been growing among companies for the past 2-3 years, the budgets have been slow to follow. This report is encouraging and shows the serious investments are being made. In another report by BIA/Kelsey; social media advertising revenue will go up to $8.3 billion by 2015, while revenue spent on social media advertising was $2.1 billion, in 2010…

The rise in social advertising, also has huge implications for companies that invest in social platforms and build their entire products around it – with the likes of gaming platform Zynga being a good example. Their ‘ads’ campaign with Microsoft certainly proved the case for innovative online advertising. It’s not about sticking in Google ‘ads’ anymore, or even leaving sections of your site open to sponsorship. Companies have to work harder to get in front of their customers, as they battle for a complete turnaround in user behavior: The future of advertising is social and the opportunities are huge…

The way corporate entities approach social media is shifting. According to Amy Jo Martin: The social media landscape will continue to evolve, as should your strategies for success… Many companies are beginning to realize that setting up Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook accounts as their only social media strategy is not going to cut it . Brands will need to seriously shift their perspective by treating social channels more like communication channels and less like an advertising channels in order to make a difference.

The year 2012 will be the year for brands to go beyond cookie cutter campaigns and really determine how it not only adds value to their company, but how it adds value for their customers. This year will be crucial for companies and social media. According to Gartner, more users will turn to their mobile devices for online purposes… It’s already happening more consumers are using their smart-phones, than laptops and desktops.

With the launch of Facebook’s ‘Ticker’, Twitter’s ‘Promoted Tweets’, and Google’s ‘YouTube’ for ‘ads’ in 2012, they will show how social platforms can capitalize on their biggest asset, which is user data. Social media advertising has gained momentum and with almost a quarter of the planet hooked-on social networking, you are bound to be noticed. According to Donny Gamble; advances in niche targeting and segmentation will increase the potency of social advertising to an excess of $10 Billion by 2013”.  Social media advertising compliments ‘brand’ and ‘brand’ sells, but only if it manages to meet the consumer’s expectation. There’s no doubt that social media advertising works, but caution is essential…

Know your market, get a strong understanding of the online social behavior of your potential customers, and communicate compelling and relevant information… don’t just rely on one network, but rather use a whole range of channels together and make sure that you are covering all the bases…

As more marketers incorporate social networks in their business, they will no longer look at them as silo destinations. Instead, they will look to increase the impact of their social network presence by linking it to other marketing initiatives, both online and offline ~Debra Aho Williamson