A media ad spending report from Aggregate Knowledge has placed social media at the top of the buying heap, above other channels like exchanges and networks.

Cost, Reach + User Quality Measured

Five hundred thirty ad campaigns were measured by Aggregate Knowledge in its Global Media Intelligence Report, and it looked at the media channels with the lowest cost, best reach and with the highest quality targets. While exchanges often are the least expensive option, they often don't yield the highest quality results.

Social media, on the other hand, is nearly as cost effective, but attracts the kind of customers companies find more valuable, the report found. It's an important distinction because buyers rule in the age of information. Aggregate Knowledge took that into consideration when it put the report together, and it tried to point the way to the cheapest channels that yielded the best results.

It turns out social performed at more than twice the rate of other channels in reach efficiency, while networks and exchanges performed 35 to 69 percent below the average in reaching high quality users. However, purely on cost, without taking into account the quality of those being reached, exchanges were 29 percent cheaper than any other channel (social being second).


Social media not a panacea, but is the best at reaching the most highly valued targets.

Funnel Attribution

One final measure the report undertook was a look at how credit is distributed what is called the last-touch attribution model. Social media is often undervalued in how it affects targets across the sales funnel, the report found, and portals are also a bit marginalized in this respect.

Exchanges, conversely, are often seen as getting the credit for conversions in the last-touch attribution model. That means either the report is not in line with what companies are seeing in their funnels, or the last-touch attribution model is more limited than previously thought.

We've all seen how powerful social media has been for many digital marketers, and this report should help quantify that a bit as we ramp up for the year ahead.