Ads in Social Media: Do they get Enough Bang for their Buck?

by · December 20, 20137 comments

This is a true story.

On assignment for my college newspaper, I stood with the general manager of a minor league baseball team at home plate of an aging stadium. We chatted and gazed across the manicured turf, talking sports and marketing. “I can’t get into NASCAR,” he proclaimed. “Too much advertising.”

He said this, with ads that spanned from foul pole to foul pole, three ads deep, on the outfield fence, standing larger than life before us.

BangAs sports franchises realize the value of prime real estate on their outfield walls and soccer jerseys, so too have social media sites recognized the captive eyes on their products.

Businesses have begun to grasp the benefit of social-media engagement, some better than others. A Nielsen report reveals that 66% of advertisers buy social media ads along with other online advertising, including brand graphs and sponsored content.

Can potential become profit for those who choose to advertise on social media sites?

Essential Elements of Successful Social Media Ads

1.      Value proposition

“Like us on Facebook!”

So many companies urge Facebook users to support their businesses with a click of the thumbs-up button. But what’s a like worth? Not much, without a value proposition – you have to give the site user a reason to click like. Most effective are genuine social media engagements.

Users are savvy to gimmicks designed to trick them into clicking.

Value proposition can include:
  • An open-ended questionHow has Fizz soda brightened up your day?
  • A pollWhich Fizz soda flavor is your fave? We’ll change our website the color of the winner!
  • A contestHelp Fizz name our latest neon soda and win a Fizz party for 40 friends!

Gone are the days when marketers hoped consumers would blindly click on their ad, as well as engage while they are there.

2.      Integration of earned and paid

While organic growth is pure, it’s impossible to ignore the benefits social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer. The biggest? They target your ads to those consumers most likely to engage. These sites have built user databases that span over several years, and that data is gold to online advertisers, for both business and campaign tests.

Earned media –engagement you get for just being cool – can lead to an increase in paid interaction.

The combination is so much more valuable than just overall reach. A cycle is created: Interacting fans give businesses insight into what works, and what doesn’t. The earned engagement leads to better understanding of paid ads, and paid advertising provides insight into better means of earned engagement.

Integration of earned and paid engagement needs:
  • A planIt’s crucial to have a schedule of paid promotions and content creation
  • ExecutionFast response is essential, because your community interacts in real time
  • MetricsMonitor the activity for both channels, and how they influence each other

According to a Pew Research Center report, 72% of American adults participate in social media, and another 18% use Twitter (which Pew categorizes separately). The golden demographics, ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 49, are on social networks at stunning rates – 89% and 78%, respectively.

An influx of web-enabled devices and introduction of fiber Internet make quick access to social platforms at high speeds a common denominator and a potential that marketers can no longer ignore.

With a plan, some vision and the right approach to social media interaction, businesses can engage these demographics organically and successfully.

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About Kelley McGrath

Kelley McGrath

Kelley McGrath is a Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Wake Forest University. She currently works as a digital marketing specialist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. She specializes in social media and sports technology. You can follow her on Twitter (@KelleyAnneMac).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Maria Reyes-McDavis

    Most important tip: integration of earned and paid.

  • Patrick McFadden

    Totally agree, that the value proposition is essential for successful social media Ads. Basically your business needs to be quick to give in order to gain. That giving could be gifts in the form of freebies, but more likely come in the form of information. The right information is worth more than a gift and often even worth far more than money.

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  • Metz

    A valuable points and thoughts from you Kelley. I find it a good article to read. To know if social media platforms progress and income metrics.

    In my view about “Too much advertising.” is that it isn’t healthy anymore to see or visit a web page whether social or blog page that has many advertisements. It will make your page look poor. I found this post shared on, the Internet marketing social site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

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