Lately it seems that everything is making its way online. Physical stores are closing in favor of eCommerce websites, and if you were to believe the hype, social networks have taken over all human interactions, at least in the western world.
Is it really true? Have Internet and Social Networks really become the primary vehicle for advertising and marketing?
well, not really, but ....
According to a report recently published by eMarketer, in 2010 the average US consumer spent 11 hours each day using one of the major media outlets, namely the Internet, TV, Radio, and so on. Out of these 11 hours, half was spent watching TV, only about a quarter was spent surfing the web.
BUT, according to the recently conducted survey by Goldman Sachs people’s online buying behavior IS primarily influenced by search engines.
Sounds convoluted? It's get more confusing when we look at results around influence of social networks - only about 5% of the people who took the survey said social networking sites influenced them to buy something.
Based on these figures it can be concluded that social media advertising still has a long way to go before it will pose a threat to the more traditional forms of marketing and advertising.
With the projected growth of social commerce in the next few years that could well change soon. However, before you forsake the other kinds of traditional advertising in favor of social media advertising, there are a few things you should consider.
Social networks serve more as a vehicle to reinforce brands, rather than build them. For example, if your brand is not already well known few people will organically fan your Facebook page, which is something that does happen with larger, more popular brands.
But that does not mean social networks can be ignored, on the contrary, they add a very valuable layer to your marketing and advertising communications path. For example, people are becoming less and less tolerant to marketing messages via emails and choosing to either unsubscribe or worse, filter them out by flagging them as spam even when they like a product or a company. On the other hand, newsfeeds and status updates provide a more acceptable alternative - the recipient has the choice of paying attention if they have the time and interest and have a built in aging since they move down the list.
Television ads cost a fortune. For a small business owner, social media advertising gives a viable alternative by allowing them to target a very specific audience. It addition to targeting your ads to a specific age, gender or geographic group, facebook and linkedin let you target people based on what their college major is or was, when did they graduate, what type of special interest groups or societies they belong to, and more. And it is this that sets Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media advertising programs apart from the other Pay-Per-Click ad programs, such as those offered by Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Needless to say, this gives you access to your very specific target market segment without having to try to "guess" the keywords for context based display ads (As provided by Google, bing and others context based advertising systems) or basing it on what movie, or TV show people are watching, Of course, this is lot more valuable to a small business owner who does not really have the option of buying a TV ad spot.
Staff Blogger, the Technology Gurus, Inc.