Social networking / media has evolved to become one of the largest or more accurately massive industries the web has ever spawned. The phenomenon has grown so big, it in fact has ushered in the formation of multiple sub-industries – all supported by the sheer mass of users that social networks stand on. This mass, or the space Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and social bookmarking services fill in each individual user’s schedule is also what attracted marketers – the mass that is, and the opportunity.
Social media provides superior, not necessarily interactive channels to address an extremely large audience at relative cost efficiency. This short sentence is every marketer’s wish, and it’s exactly what encourages the enormous demand in the industry – which, in turn, is the element that spurs increasingly creative and effective promotion and targeting methods.
A report entitled “Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses” interviewed 900 marketers, and discovered some interesting statistics surrounding this space. At the time the report was published, 72 percent of the 88% of all marketers that were using social media marketing only started out or had been using it for a few months. 64% percent of marketers invested over 5 hours a week in social media marketing, and 39% invested 10+ hours per week while 9.6% respondents spent more than 20 hours a week. It’s interesting to note that there was a direct correlation between how long marketers had been using SMM and their increased weekly time commitment. 81% percent of respondents noted the “all important eyeball” was the number one benefit of their social media marketing efforts.
The growth in demand and ROI highlighted above are the key elements accelerate social media, and which could make Facebook a $100 billion company by its 2012 IPO. Facebook after all is one of the key players in the social media marketing world. It does provide an excellent way to interact with prospective customers and any given audience in fact via an official page, but in this post I want to focus on a more prominent indicator – Facebook advertising.
eMarketer forecasts Facebook ad revenue to reach $4.05 billion worldwide this year, and up to $5.74 billion in 2012 – or 678 percent more than in did in 2009. While this doesn’t explain the social networking site’s ridiculously high valuation it does show Facebook is definitely on the rise, and it’s making efforts to sustain this growth. Take Sponsored Stories for instance – a Facebook innovation which takes quotes from users’ friends’ comments, Likes and location check-ins containing a brand mentioning and displays them as advertising.
Facebook stands right along Twitter in the social media marketing space. The latter makes most of its income from selling Big Data to its clients, but it has also begun to evolve into providing marketers more and premium channels to interact with users and increase publicity. One example of this are Promoted Tweets, which are “highlighted to a wider group of users.”
Social media has already become a favourite marketing platform, and now the game is about optimizing and maximizing marketers’ reach to their selected audience(s). Metrics and Big Data, the core of Twitter’s revenue, are also a vital element for marketers – and another edge over traditional marketing channels. This report by the Altimeter Group and Web Analytics Demystified provides some useful insights into the topic and shows that in fact, while SMM is clearly gaining significant traction and providing some tangible benefit there is still no single perfect way to measure social media marketing success.