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Summary:

Who said that the advertising models of print and yesteryear would be sustainable online? Everyone just hoped they’d translate, because porting old models onto new platforms didn’t require much innovation or effort.

We’ve already seen the drastic impact of social networks on our content publishing and revenue generation models. Do you think it’s going to stop there?

Who said that the advertising models of print and yesteryear would be sustainable online? Everyone just hoped they’d translate, because porting old models onto new platforms didn’t require much innovation or effort. I’d argue that any publisher that has their eggs completely in the ad banner basket is missing the boat and is in for a Titanic-sized rude awakening.

The good news is that I’ve seen inklings of integrated campaigns online from some forward-thinking advertisers who are realizing that the old advertising methods don’t work so well online and that ad banner fatigue hit consumers in about, oh, 1999. Kudos to the companies who may not yet be getting it right, but are fighting the good fight to bust out of the old models and create some new ones.

So what are the new options for advertisers to reach potential customers? I don’t have a magic bullet for you, sorry, but I do have some wild and wacky ideas about advertising (hate it) versus social communications (love it).

  • integration — think of how you can integrate your brand appropriate into conversations. Hint: Strategic social media marketing.
  • placement — find interesting ways to place your brand into someone’s information stream. Hint: Virtual goods and gifts.
  • overlay — develop ways to put your content into new places and spaces. Hint: Augmented reality.
  • cross-platform — don’t just think Mac/PC or Firefox/Safari/Chrome. Hint: Hybrid online/offline.

I’ll leave you with these final thoughts and then let you ruminate — or argue with me, if you like. Most people do not want to consume ads. Many just barely tolerate them. A growing number of people completely reject them. If you look at the trends in communications over the last two decades, the patterns are clear. Learn from our past mistakes. Don’t be afraid to be different. Just make sure you have a strategy, some patience, and a flexible plan.

And please…don’t be an ostrich.

What is the future of advertising on the social web?

Photos by stock.xcnhg users flaivoloka and josecarli respectively

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise

  1. While I’m all for various Social Media platforms making money, it seems that with all the recent talk of advertising, many bog businesses are missing the point.

    Social media is about so much more than just getting your name out. It’s about conversations and finding content and sharing content and communicating.

    When I’m participating in a social media platform/communication channel-I’m not looking for ads. I’m looking for other customers to tell me their thoughts on a product and for the business to aggregate how different people use it.

    While I think some smaller companies like 37 signals and Remember the Milk follow your guidelines above, and even some bigger companies, like Best Buy and Dell, it seems like the majority are just looking for a new venue to shout at consumers.

    I’m hoping that businesses take your advice listed above and start to really integrate some inbound marketing and see advertising on social media platforms as an extra, but we’ll see.

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  2. [...] Aliza Sherman has a great post on WebWorkerDaily today, “How Can Advertising Work on the Social Web.” [...]

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  3. Ah, Leslie, the voice of youth! ;)

    You are saying many of the same things we were saying 15+ years ago when businesses were trying to “make money” off the Web. But as I’ve said before, right now we are replicating where we were back in the mid 90s when the Web was still so brand spanking new.

    I totally agree with your statement:
    Social media is about so much more than just getting your name out. It’s about conversations and finding content and sharing content and communicating.

    Just replace a few words and you get what we were all saying in the 90s:
    THE WEB is about so much more than just getting your name out. It’s about conversations and finding content and sharing content and communicating.

    Welcome to 2010! Thank you so much for the comment.

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  4. Voice of youth indeed. In the mid-90s I was too busy playing Oregon Trail and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego to Care About Advertising. :)

    Funny how history repeats itself, and yet no one seems to learn.

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