Social Media IS Advertising


There is a notion spreading like wildfire in the marketing world: that social media is no longer effective for business marketing. You may be incredulous – social media can be everything! That’s because we left out one very important qualifier: social media may no longer be effective for businesses without the advertising component.

Pay Attention, Startups

A social advertising budget is essential – especially for startups – for growing reach and expanding audiences. If you’re trying to build awareness for your new business and gain the trust of a new set of customers, a well-phrased Facebook ad with a compelling photo could bring in interested potential consumers far more than a regular post with no reach will. A sponsored update on LinkedIn or sponsored tweet can also bring you to the attention of consumers that you may not have otherwise been able to reach.

Social Media also offers something many other platforms don’t: relatively low costs for customer acquisition. Throw in the ability to interact on a personal level with your audience? You can understand why growth is exponential.

The Facts

Social media is certainly taking the online advertising world by storm, thanks in part to popularity of Facebook and Twitter use on mobile phones. This is the year that mobile will lap desktop in advertising spending, projected to hit $14.7 billion versus desktop’s $12.4. For this and myriad other reasons, social platforms are beating sites like Google and the once dominant Yahoo at their own game. This all according to a recent report from eMarketer. Some important tidbits:

Facebook will own 25 percent of the US display ad business, compared to Google’s 13 percent. By 2017, Facebook’s ad revenue will jump to $10 billion, giving it 27 percent share of the space. Google will top out at $4.1 billion and 11 percent share.” 

Plus, Facebook isn’t alone: “Twitter will become the third-largest display ad company in 2015, generating $1.3 billion this year, compared to Yahoo’s $1.2 billion.”

“Let’s call it what it is: Social media marketing is now advertising.”

This according to Adage. Social media is now an arena where most brands have to pay to be seen, especially the newer ones. It’s certainly the case that Facebook is driving more and more businesses to spend more and more money, even while facing ever decreasing organic reach. All this while Twitter beefs up its own ad platform.

Quick Tips

  • Determine your goals. Are you trying to get more likes and retweets? Or are you simply trying to bump up your click-through-rate? Then determine a budget. You have to spend to earn – so don’t be stingy.
  • Never disregard the importance of mobile. Devote some funds to creating mobile landing pages for your ads. According to Salesforce, Facebook has over one billion monthly active mobile users, and 80% of Twitter users are on mobile devices.
  • Post important information, blog posts, articles, etc. that are relevant to your niche. As a startup, stick to personality – and don’t just post to post.
  • As always: test, measure and recalibrate.

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