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Social Media Advertising: Should Bloggers Bother?

This guest post is written by Lior Levin.

Social media has proven its worth as a networking tool and a means of raising brand awareness, but the future of sites like Facebook and Twitter depend on convincing brands that that it’s worthwhile to invest in advertising on their sites in addition to interacting with customers.

Ads on Facebook usually appear in the right column, though Facebook has been experimenting with more socially-based ads that show up in the streams of users. With its simpler interface, Twitter relies on promoting tweets that show up in the tops of users’ update streams.

No one has any doubts about the value of social media marketing through engaging customers, running promotions, and creating company pages. The majority of doubts surround the ROI and overall value of paying to advertise on social networks.

Many brands are still engaged in social media advertising, and the data available changes from year to year. However, for bloggers, it can be difficult to decide whether social media advertising is worth it.

Here are a few of the current advantages and disadvantages of using social media sites for your advertising campaigns.

Advantages of social media advertising

Social helps campaigns go viral

According to Kelsey Jones of the Social Robot, “Companies and organizations can experience a large swell of website visitors, new customers, or Facebook fans all within a single day, depending on the effectiveness of their ads. This type of viral activity can be great for events and product launches.”

Brands are satisfied with the level of engagement

There’s no doubt that the right campaign can make a huge difference in driving visitors to a website. This spike in traffic for some major brands makes social media advertising worth considering.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Companies that have bought Twitter ads generally say they are happy with the percentage of people who click on their ads or circulate them to other Twitter users. But marketers also say these ads haven’t proven they can convert people into paying customers.”

Disadvantages of social media advertising

The cost for national advertising campaigns is prohibitive

Kelsey Jones writes at Performancing, “For some targeted campaigns, competition can be very high, leading to high rates for clicks on social media ads or sponsored tweet impressions (views). For certain industries, the cost to run a viral campaign of this magnitude can be significant, up to thousands of dollars per day.”

While the cost of social media advertising can be quite steep for national campaigns, running an effective social media campaign through a free account on social media can produce similar results if managed properly. The opportunity to engage users through a free account may make it hard to justify the cost of Facebook or Twitter ads.

Social advertising can be perceived negatively

Unlike ads in magazines or on television, ads on social networks may prove to be ineffective or even a liability for brands, as customers may view them as an unwelcome intrusion.

One Forrester analyst mentioned to Bloomberg that injecting ads into a social platform is like interrupting a conversation among friends in order to attempt a sales pitch.

In fact, ads on a social network may be perceived as completely counter to what users are trying to accomplish. Some suggest that the success of social advertising hinges on whether brands can identify the purchasing intent of users and find the perfect point to introduce an ad into their social experience.

The ROI is difficult to measure on social media

Sean Jackson, the CFO of CopyBlogger, suggests that for all of the talk about being unable to measure the ROI of social media marketing in general, businesses should not be dismayed. Jackson says, “An investment is an asset that you purchase and place on your Balance Sheet. Like an office building or a computer system. It’s something you could sell later if you didn’t need it any more. Marketing is an expense, and goes on the Profit and Loss statement.”

Whether or not you agree with Jackson’s statement, the constant challenge of all marketing efforts over the years has been determining their ROI.

Is it worth it?

Social media advertising will undoubtedly produce greater brand awareness and user engagement with your brand, but the real risk is that brands may need to designate significant funds to their marketing efforts without necessarily receiving a guarantee that they’ll work.

That is a significant risk to take, but as brands seek to reach customers, we’ll see ongoing innovation among advertisers on social media platforms.

What do you think of social advertising? Have you tried it—or seen it? Let us know your take on these new ad media in the comments.

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for pre shipment inspection companies located in China and Latin America, and who also consults for a psd to html conversion company.

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Comments

  1. Kelsey Jones says:

    Thanks for using my article! I agree with your points as well, I think social media advertising needs to be fun but not cheesy or insulting to the user– otherwise it can go bad quickly!

  2. Bit disappointed about the post. It fails to discuss about social media advertising for bloggers. May be I expected to get some insights specific to bloggers.

    • Ben Troy says:

      i see that the article has pointed both advantage and disadvantage of social media, especially the return on investment for social media network advertisement .

  3. Thanks for the post. I really have to agree with you especially in the last part where you said is it worth it. It can bring fast predictable traffic, has uncountable options, and can get you nearly as many visitors as you want and probably more than you can afford. Especially with all the vouchers out these days with some that can be used on a existing account dramatically helps cut down your costs. All in all it is nice and effective, so thank you for making this post to teach members about it.

  4. Stephen says:

    Going the resent events taking place in the social media world any marketer ignoring social advertising is doing so at his/her own peril. I agree with you that social media marketing is one of the best ways to build an online brand name.

    Don’t forget the issue of social optimization that search engines seem to be leaning to lately.

  5. JC says:

    I’ve been playing around with Facebook advertisements for a blog of mine and seen some good results if I just wanted more fans/readers. I’ve been quite happy in that regard, and it beats paying $10.00 for a bunch of blind fans that don’t care about your content. Whether that converts well to sales & advertisement revenue is yet to be seen..

  6. Ayaz says:

    Thanks for the post and advantages and disadvantages are in everything of life but for me the facebook ads can provide you the better advantages if you used them with shorter time initially and than slowly once you get the great response than you should expand and I think that should be strategy for any start up businesses.

  7. Advertising on social media is often frowned upon, many users do see it as you have said ‘like interrupting a conversation among friends in order to attempt a sales pitch.’

    I wonder how effective it really is, things that go viral in my experience are things people chose to share that they believe they have discovered and not had put in front of them by a giant corporation. Social media is about being social and having fun, look what happened to MySpace when folks got on board and started to use it for promotion. It is a fine line, can very easily cheese people off.

  8. Surminga says:

    Well discussed, I’m of the opinion that the water should always be tested in that you need to ‘test and try before you buy’. In other words test and try and see what outcome it provides before committing more money and effort.

  9. It was a problogger webinar that convinced me to invest on facebook ads for my facebook page. It has helped my page to become visible. But in the long run, I have gained only a few loyal fans or ‘super fans’. And not much traffic towards my blog. But many people find interesting things to read via social media, so it’s not something bloggers can ignore. But how much you invest, and the timing is the all important question.

  10. Wade says:

    I have tried Facebook advertising but with no success. It seems as though social media advertising is pointless. I am sure that there are a lot of people that have great results through this, but most people on social media aren’t looking to get on there and click ads.

  11. Shalu Sharma says:

    Most of these social media advertising are cheap, one could advertise for a whole month and see how they do as far as traffic is concerned. I think Stumbleupon also does paid stumbles, I tried it once and got some views but have not tried Facebook. Personally, I never look at ads on Facebook.

  12. Peter says:

    Social media has caused consumers to become more brand loyal. The main reason we use social media is to stay connected with family and friends. A brand can connect this same way by using a Facebook page, automated tweets, etc.

  13. Yeah I think bloggers should participate in social media ads. Not only that it drives traffic and build your rank but it also allows reader and blogger interaction.

  14. Ryan Scott says:

    I think social media is a must, not an option for bloggers. You don’t have much if you don’t have an engaged community to help your offerings go viral.

    One thing I have noticed from Facebook ads is they are clicked by a lot of “Bots” or fake accounts. I recently spent $50 on facebook ads trying to build a Fanpage for my blog. I figured getting likes to my FB page would be more bang for my buck because then I could advertise to those likes free after that. The sad thing was most of the likes were from fake accounts. Therefore, I don’t use Facebook ads anymore.

    I’m not sure if the same would apply to an ad that goes to a website but I’m thinking it does.

  15. Matthew Stewart says:

    “…injecting ads into a social platform is like interrupting a conversation among friends in order to attempt a sales pitch.”

    That just goes to show that what you’re trying to achieve in social media is not advertising, but that exact “conversation between friends”. Social media allows you to place your brand as a normal person that can initiate real interaction with potential customers. It amazes me that so many businesses still attempt to ram this “must show ads” mentality into social media.

    Having said that, there are some social media markets where users are generally more open to (or tolerant of?) brand exposure. It seems that Chinese social media is becomingly increasingly commercialised, and customers there are more used to the idea of engaging with brands and their campaigns via social media. Still, that hasn’t stopped a lot of brands from charging in and making stupid mistakes (quick Google, if you’re interested: http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/technology/are-you-making-these-7-business-mistakes-chinese-social-media/)

    It seems like Lior’s point here is that you’ve really got to put research into the specifics of your location, industry, market etc. before you can get into social media, but if you do that homework first then social media has got to be worth it. I wouldn’t criticise that idea at all.