To target consumers that now eschew watching TV in favor of trading Snapchat Stories, browsing through Instagram photos, and/or immersed in their favorite YouTuber’s latest video, brands are diverting marketing budgets away from television ads and investing in social advertising strategies instead. According to eMarketer, spending on digital advertising (like social media marketing, influencer marketing, and other forms of social advertising) will surpass television ad spending for the first time in 2017, marking a notable shift in how brands are targeting and interacting with today’s younger, tech-savvy consumers.
By definition, social advertising is any type of marketing that is developed for and relies on social media networks, platforms, or apps to reach new audiences and/or engage with existing customers, increase brand awareness, and foster positive relationships/communication with consumers. Companies engage in social advertising by creating native ads on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, developing branded content on their own social media channels, or collaborating with social media stars (i.e. YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, Snapchatters, bloggers, and vloggers) to produce, implement, and promote brand-sponsored content created by the digital influencer.
Social media advertising leverages the power of social networks (and the data contained therein) to target users who have already expressed an interest in a specific product or service, thus increasing the efficacy of social advertising campaigns and creating a better experience for consumers. While television ads can target broad audience demographics—think beer brands like Budweiser advertising during football games, for example, or beauty brands purchasing television ads during episodes of “The Bachelor”—social advertising excels at identifying niche markets and using social media influencers that operate within those markets to message and interact personally to millions of interested consumers, dedicated fans, and engaged followers.
Marketing on social media platforms also has an advantage over television because, unlike TV ads, social advertising fosters communication between brand and consumer (often expressed in likes, comments, tweets, and social shares) and facilitates immediate feedback regarding a company’s products or services. Because social advertising exists within a social community, social media marketing campaigns yield higher levels of engagement and create “halo effects” wherein users magnify the reach of each campaign by sharing branded or brand-sponsored content within their own social circles.
Lastly, social advertising is particularly effective at targeting today’s most prized marketing demographic: Millennials. In a recent article, Adweek’s Marty Swant noted that marketers are spending 500% more on millennial-focused advertising that on any other group, and social advertising through influencer marketing campaigns and other forms of social media marketing is the most effective way to reach young consumers who now spend up to 9 hours a day on social media platforms.
Many of the world’s biggest brands are using social advertising to capture the attention of new customers or to gain access to untapped markets. Some notable examples of ways that companies have taken advantage of social advertising include:
To drive conversions (measured in sign-ups) for company’s website building services and increase audience engagement with their social advertising campaign, Squarespace aligned with top YouTubers and YouTube channels including Good Mythical Morning, Cinema Sins, Ray William Johnson, and Tyler Oakley to create original video content designed grab audiences’ attention. Learn more about Squarespace’s campaign by reading our case study here.
To target Millennials consumers, Mastercard partnered with Vine star Arielle Vandenberg to create an engaging social advertising campaign that would appeal to the influencer’s 1.9 million Vine followers and half a million Instagram followers. For brands like Mastercard that have traditionally relied on television advertising to reach new customers, social media marketing and influencer marketing campaigns represent a powerful way to engage directly with consumers who spend hours a day on social media platforms like Vine, Instagram, and YouTube.
While films and recording artists are entertainers in their own right, engaging in social advertising by developing branded social media campaigns with today’s top influencers is an effective way for movies and international pop stars to expand their reach to new, engaged audiences and generate buzz about upcoming releases. To see how The Hunger Games, Selena Gomez, and other entertainment brands achieved success by collaborating with top YouTubers to develop creative social advertising campaigns, see our blog post here.