This Week in Online Advertising: Social Media Sites Key

3 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar

Chances are if you're seeing and clicking on an online advertisement, you're doing it from within a social networking platform like Facebook or MySpace.

A new report by comScore reveals the increasing prominence of social media sites and how they have become more viable and acceptable among marketers. 

The study by comScore, released on Tuesday, capturedU.S. online display advertising on social networking sites in June 2009.Social media sites represented 21.1 percent of U.S. Internet display ads, with MySpace and Facebook accounting for more than 80 percent of those ads.

Among the top advertisers, the report showed that AT&T ranked as the top display advertiser on social networking sites, with more than 2 billion ad impressions. Second was Experian Interactive, which relied on a heavy rotation of ads for educational degree programs and credit scores.

What does this all mean? It means that social networking sites are not only popular with users, but with advertisers, creating a symbiotic and profitable market. As these sites evolve and online advertisers experiment more, we are bound to see more online advertising targeted towards social media platforms.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods See Fast Growth Online

According to the WebChutney Digital Media Outlook Report 2009, the online spending of the fast-moving-consumer-goods brands (FMCG) in India, which stands at about US $3.3 million, is expected to increase to almost US $14.8 million in 2009-10. Yes, that would be an increase of approximately 353%.

So why the dramatic jump? Traditionally consumers goods, like those included in the FMCG category (i.e, soft drinks, fast food) were advertised using television and print. Now, that they've begun to venture online, they've seen a sharp rise in sales.

But advertisers are still in the experimental phases, trying to learn the behaviors of their users so that they can best capture the market -- 300% at a time.

Learning Opportunities

Social Media is Shifty; Marketers Shouldn't Be

Today's last word in online marketing comes from the Advertising Age, who tells us Why Social Media Isn't Living Up to the Hype. Chris Perry, executive VP of digital strategy and operations at Weber Shandwick explains that "when presented with a new technology, people tend to use that innovation to do existing jobs more effectively."

As a result, companies aren't finding new ways of using existing technologies. Instead they are only using it as others currently are. While new adaptations may evolve, companies aren't taking full advantage of social media sites. Instead they are wasting time and money, trying to adapt as fast as they can with the next predicted shift in consumer and social behaviors.

Perry says that because marketers spend a lot of time chasing the next trend, they don't often know how to "design and execute campaigns inline with the media habits and behaviors of people they're trying to reach".

Room to Experiment

If we can learn from the results of the two previous reports, it's that there is room for experiment. Just because you're up one day doesn't mean it will be the same for the next. The world of social media is viral and experimental. Advertisers need to be flexible and capable of changing direction at anytime.

But they also need the stamina to focus on trying to explore opportunities within a given site for longer. Take the time to tweak your efforts so that you can best maximize the behaviors of users online.