Soci”Ad” Media

By: Donald Smith

Is social media really “free” advertising like so many have thought? Well, it used to be, but now it is only a strategy in an advertising plan. It is now all about who will pay the most such as advertisement used to be when negotiating who will shell out the most money for the prime time spot. Mike Proulx said it best in his AdAge article, “Let’s call it what it is: Social media marketing is now advertising. It’s largely a media planning and buying exercise.”

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“Social Media Ad” By Purrsonality Designs

 

Now, I know many people will still claim social media is a form of two-way communication and is mostly unpaid for, which both of those points are true. However, social media is on its way to becoming a one-way form of communication and mostly paid. If it seems skeptical, take a look at the numerous statistics on social media advertising collected by Hootsuite. A couple of statistics that stood out were social media ad spending is predicted to exceed $35 billion and increase 26.3 percent globally in 2017.  Since we are in this era of social advertising it would be a great time to find out how best to target these ads.

First, let’s look at where our audiences reside. I’m going to be giving snippets, but if you would like all of the data here is the research conducted by Pew Research Center. So, as usual, Facebook is still the powerhouse with having over 70 percent for all age groups, besides 65+, but they are on a steady increase and sit at 62 percent right now. Meaning social media ads on Facebook are going to hit the largest audience possible, but bigger is not always better. Moving on, Instagram has a way smaller audience size than Facebook, but so do all other social media platforms. The largest audience on Instagram is 18 to 29-year-olds with 59 percent of the 32 percent of users (Pew Research Center, 2016). So, millennials are going to be the best audience to target with advertisements on Instagram. Next, we have Twitter with 24 percent of online adult users. When targeting an audience on Twitter you will want to target 18 – 49-year-olds or those who make a salary of $50,000+. This combined audience makes a little of 50 percent of Twitter’s audience (Pew Research Center, 2016). Then there is Pinterest with 31 percent of online adult users. On Pinterest, women (47 percent) are by far the largest target audience, even tripling the size of the male audience (17 percent) (Pew Center Research, 2016). Lastly, we have LinkedIn with 29 percent of online adult users. LinkedIn is a strange platform because the audience size within the demographics are all similar in size. Therefore, it is up to you to decide on who you want to target. Another good resource to see who and how people use social media is an infographic published on PR Week.

Finally, some ways to help you make the most out of your social media ads. A great way to start it off would be to use the Facebook Open Graph to make sure your content is optimally packaged so you get the most bang for your buck. Another application that could help would be Google AdWords. This application helps make your content easily found on Google, and with it being the number one search engine that is not bad. Also, keep in mind to help people as much as possible as you develop your content. Last, but not least, make sure to put your content on the social media platform that your target audience resides.

Does Lightning Strike Twice in Social Media?

By: Donald Smith

So, Facebook has begun to update its mobile application in several countries with a new feature called, Facebook Stories. This new feature allows users to post photos and videos that can be viewed up to two times by an individual user and will disappear 24 hours after being posted. Facebook has been testing this feature for some time. Back in July, Facebook tested a feature similar to Stories called Quick Updates.  However, the Stories feature sounds fairly similar to another app’s feature… oh yeah, Instagram Stories.

[Facebook Stories Status Bar] By: Business Insider

Instagram’s Stories feature allows its users to post photos and videos that can be view until a 24-hour time period has passed. The app originated in 2010 as a social media network that specialized in the sharing of photos. It then added the Stories feature in August 2016. Unfortunately, this sounds familiar to another app’s feature as well, Snapchat. Snapchat is recognized as the originator of the feature known as Stories. This particular feature, having user-generated disappear after 24 hours, is the entire premise of Snapchat.

Fascinatingly, Instagram has had substantial success since the integration of the Stories feature. The views and posts to Stories on Snapchat dropped by 15 percent, and sometimes up to 40 percent, while views and posts to Instagram Stories grew at alarming rates. Another shocking discovery is the number of downloads for Snapchat’s app plummeted on the launch date for Instagram’s Stories, which dropped into 11th place. Although Snapchat is still popular, by being in the top 25, it has taken a hit.

Now, it is not unknown for social media platforms to adopt features from one another. Interestingly enough, Instagram has done this before. It did this by implementing a 15-second video recording/editing feature. This feature was added to oppose, the video leader at the time, Vine. If you did not know, Facebook owns Instagram. Although Instagram found success from appropriating other apps’ features does not mean Facebook will have the same success.

Facebook is missing a large point, Uses and Gratifications Theory. The theory states users are active participants in the communication process by actively selecting specific media content to consume according to their needs. This means that individuals choose to use certain apps for certain purposes. Facebook’s demographic is moving toward an older audience who are sentimental and believe in the long-term. Therefore, they are not going to find much use out of an app that is the “now” or here today and gone tomorrow. It is Millennials, or 17 to 26-year-olds, who live within the fleeting moment. So, I do not see a reason for Facebook implementing this new feature if their user demographic does not use the app for the gratification of living in the moment. There is no such thing as a one-stop hub for social media.