Pay-To-Play: The New Social Media Landscape for Brands

14 Aug 2014

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The leading social media networks are increasing their dominance and getting a whole lot richer. Internal advertising masterminds and product specialists have been working tirelessly to monetise the channels, ensuring that advertising solutions are the new heaven for marketers. Innovative approaches to advertising formatting and significant design changes, has been the backbone to accelerated revenue increases for the networks.

So let us explore the impressive commercial results for leading social media channels and the implications they have for marketers.

Facebook Advertising

“A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars.” Sean Parkers’ famous line in The Social Network probably says it best. Facebook has successfully monetised its services to companies whilst maintaining its industry leading user base. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Facebook's record $2.91 Billion in revenue generation in Q2 2014 suggesting that Facebook may have cracked the code on advertising.

Face Values

If you examine more closely, a significant amount of revenue generation is via mobile adverts, accounting for 62% of total revenue. Why the rapid growth? Simply put, the opportunities on Facebook Advertising are staggering. Facebook is data rich with personal information such as location, gender, age, personal interests and even upcoming birthdays. Time bound, targeted campaigns are an ideal match and significant ROIs can be seen from successful activity.

How does this differ from traditional PPC seen on Google or Bing? Three words: Comments, Likes and Shares. When you advertise on Facebook via News Feed Ads or Promoted Posts, users are able to interact with it as if it were an organic post. If you opt for a CPC campaign, brands only pay for the click and not the interaction. This means that a primary driver to the success of a campaign on Facebook is positive engagement. When users comment positively they are essentially becoming brand advocates for an advertising campaign. Conversely, if there are negative comments this can lead to campaigns performing significantly worse.

Facebook offers many different options for advertising, including driving likes to a page, clicks to a website or even app installations. The team have got their finger on the pulse of advertising and are quickly providing new advertising solutions as they are demanded. Their growth can, arguably, be attributed to the ability to create new and exciting advertising opportunities yearly.

What are the implications?

Facebook has openly admitted that organic reach is dipping, fast. The lifespan of organic content is being dwarfed by paid opportunities. This is a move away from the historic association to social media and the democratic, meritocratic nature of things. As a social media enthusiast, it’s a disheartening change but one that makes commercial sense. Facebook after all, is a company. This now means that brands should consider leveraging paid opportunities on Facebook where possible.

Twitter Advertising

The Drum have reported that Twitter advertising revenue has increased by 125% despite a slow in user growth. If you’re a Twitter user (which I hope you are!) then chances are you’ve been exposed to many advertising campaigns in the way of Promoted Tweets and Accounts. Much like Facebook, with Twitter, marketers can target by a plethora of demographics. However, unlike Facebook, advertising is deployed on a CPE model (Cost-Per-Engagement), meaning that you can pay for a Retweet or Favourite.

Just this week Twitter are testing Promoted Videos for advertisers. This means that Twitter have no fear in trialling new and exciting advertising ideas on the platform. This would also support the reason why Twitter and Omnicom reached a deal for $230 Million which allows inventory access to Twitter’s advertising platforms.

Twitter Promoted Video

What are the implications?

Expect to witness many new ways to advertise on Twitter in the next 12 months. The growth of revenue on the channels will be fuelled by this as long as users maintain the high levels of organic content that they expect to see on the network. If you’re supporting a video campaign, keep an eye out for Promoted Videos and consider deploying a Promoted Tweet campaign if you seeking to boost engagement.

LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn have reported strong growth in advertising steams in Q2 2014. The results are staggering with $543 million dollars generated, up 47% from the same period in 2013. Behind the growth? You guessed it, new and innovative ways to advertise on the channel.

What’s new? Sponsored Stories work much like Promoted Posts on Facebook, allowing you to promote your content via the company page to new audiences that extend beyond your community. Advertising targeting is increasingly sophisticated with more user data being gathered including volunteering experience.

What are the implications?

Are you deploying a B2B marketing campaign? Are you on a strong recruitment drive? Looking to boost your company values and culture via a social network? LinkedIn is a natural answer to the questions, however if you’re starting from scratch or need to extend your reach beyond your community, Paid LinkedIn Advertising could be a viable choice for you.

Paid Social Media Experts

Our social media team flourish in advertising on the channels with a focus on client KPI’s and key drivers on social media. We conduct a wide range of testing on new advertising formats and configurations to ensure that the most effective techniques are deployed. If you’re interested in deploying a Paid Social campaign, we’d love to chat.