Advertising Boxes Out Social Media

According to an article on Media Post:  "Social networking now accounts for one of every five minutes spent online, making it the most popular online activity worldwide, according to a comprehensive new report from comScore. What’s more, it leads all content categories in the number of display ads delivered, accounting for more than 1 in 4 U.S. display ad impressions (28%). " 


My Commentary:

After spending over 10 years working with magazines, including launching a national inflight magazine for a major airline, my take why social media is a distant cousin in advertising spend is because the actual people who allocate advertising budgets are simply not involved in Social Media themselves.  


Social Media is relatively new, limited by few metrics, sceptics abound  and partial resources to quantify ROI.  From my days in magazines, justifying budget expenditures were and still are compared by readership, reach, audience, demographics and so on.  It tended to lean still towards coupons or call to action ads.   It is far easier to rationalize after someone walks in or inquires after newspaper or radios generate the response.  Marketers have had years to validate traditional advertising.

"Awareness" or "branding" tends to be left for richer marketing plans because it is difficult to substantiate.  Enter a softer economy, reduced margins, and ROI becomes more important to ascertain.

Social Media arrives at a time when measurements are crucial, difficult to determine where to focus and expertise is fragmented.  Absolutely, at least clicks, follows, impressions are blended.  Historical data is still limited.  Certainly, Old Spice and other Social Media campaigns stand out in everyone's mind.   The commercials would not be limited to You Tube or Facebook alone.  Traditional television spots would complement the campaign.  That goes back to those that have richer financial resources.


There are metrics that organizations like Google Analytics or The Yellow Pages can provide to help navigate your campaign towards online presence.  They introduce new  acronyms such as  CTR (Click Through Rate), Relevance, Quality Score, Conversion Tracking, Optimization, Keywords, CPC (Cost per Click), Ad Rank, Broad Match, Phrase Match, Hypertext Matching, CPA (Cost per Acquisition), PPC (Pay per Click),  Page Rank, and Organic ... all for good measure.   Additional questions surface:  where are the clicks coming from, what is their disposable income, where do they spend their discretionary income?

From what I understand, organizations debate where the responsibility for the domain lies.  Traditionally, it was slated under IT.  Then evolved where Marketing manages  content.   Today, it has become more complicated when research, analytics, and placement need to be factored in.   Where is the traffic going to be driven from?  Who's responsibility is that?  Social Media Community Manager surfaces yet the mandate surrounding justification for the role is challenged since  IT, Marketing, Communications, Web Masters are already in place.   Then, just when everyone may be coming around, Mobile Marketing is heralded as the next biggest, greatest thing.  Sceptics need to be reminded how iTunes has revolutionized and transformed the music industry.





Alas, at least we can agree that Social Media advertising hasn't quite hit its stride.  Especially if those that make the decisions often negatively associate Social Media under time wasting, Code of Ethics, and policing.   These executives rarely have the time to participate, never mind engage in the adventure. 

No wonder Social Media creates a world of discussion on its own.  Complex.  Certainly.  Potential.  Endless.