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Social Media Advertising: Who Measures, Who Wins

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Companies that best address the social advertising measurement challenge will get more of what eMarketer says will be $2.1 billion in U.S. spending next year. As I discuss in a post at GigaOM Pro, opportunistic suppliers will thrive by understanding what is unique about the space as well as how it fits in comparison to traditional media.

With the exception of user reviews and coupon-sharing/group shopping, today, most social media experiences lend themselves to brand advertising. Most traditional brand advertising measurement concepts are applicable to social media: demographics, reach, frequency, duration, brand “halo effects,” etc, but there are three things truly unique to social media:

  • Explicit preference. Whether it’s Facebook Likes or Twitter followers, social media properties offer marketers the chance to observe users’ self-professed preferences, rather than relying on implied or survey-determined preference.
  • Advocacy and pass-along. Social media enables consumers to post reviews and recommendations and act as a distribution channel for them and for advertiser messages. Of course, viral word-of-mouth exists offline, but social media greases the wheels and accelerates that viral spread.
  • Real-time feedback. Social media enables marketers and brands to take the pulse of their customers and prospects in real-time, where traditional media has to rely on slower market research techniques.

Marketers can get some of those traditional and social metrics from the social media companies where they happen, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Foursquare. But agencies and third-party tools and dashboards — like Google Analytics, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, WPP’s Cymfony, Radian6 and others — do a better job at aggregation and comparison.

Social media platforms that support and integrate those third-party tools should thrive, particularly if they can help agencies demonstrate that they deliver the three unique social attributes for campaigns and long-term marketing programs. They still need to work on supplying standard benchmarks, and there’s still no industry-agreed upon “currency” like Nielsen ratings, let alone one that advertisers can use cross-media.

Read the full post here.

Image source: flickr user wwarby

10 Responses to “Social Media Advertising: Who Measures, Who Wins”

  1. Interesting perspective, David – social media is truly changing the face of advertising by breaking down barriers between what ads are crafted to say vs. what fans and followers might be virtually whispering to one another about your product or brand. As we enter a season that’s traditionally consumer (and revenue) focused, as a site owner it’s important to understand how to highlight the most compelling content to keep the attention of visitors and understand just what the advertising on your particular site is trying to do. In the advertising realm, the real agent of change is going to be that social media ads can prove much more effective than banner ads.
    As a business leader or marketer, paying attention to these small nuances will give you the ability to really capture someone’s attention, engage them, and build something long term from it as you craft campaigns to recognize them as contributing to a larger whole.

  2. eric Chan

    misses the point … social media isn’t advertising in the traditional sense of the word

    its about relationships … most of the “like”s and “tweet” followers for a company are likely pre-existing users of the product

    it REINFORCES the conversation … you don’t need to advertise yrself to them … you need to keep connected and keep them happy

    smart companies CAN use social media to acquire new POTENTIAL customers … but sadly most lack the imagination …

    careful with feedback through social media … as they are already fanboy and thus don’t usually represent people who have PROBLEMS with your product … you’ll get a very filtered view …

  3. Social media offers a prime branding opportunity to small businesses. It just doesn’t cost much (compared to traditional medias) to make millions of impressions and accumulate a real measureable following. The question is, how long will this goldmine be wide open to small businesses before the walmarts and cokes bid it off the table?