Facebook at the core of a converged media model – Social ads as proven means to social ROI

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The splintered media landscape

Twenty years ago marketers only dealt with three channels: radio, print, and TV. Fast-forward to 2013 and we have an enormous number of splintered channels, all fighting for consumers’ attention and marketers’ dollars.  

Image 1: Converged media provides a framework to maximize returns among the splintered media channels

In this new digital world, executives demand accountability and ROI on every dollar spent – as well they should – but picking the right mix of media for maximum ROI proves an enormous challenge in a space that changes so rapidly and seemingly unpredictably. Thankfully, social media spans all three media types – paid, owned, and earned – and actually benefits from their dynamic relationship.

Social thrives within converged media

Considering the new converged media imperative proposed by the Altimeter Group, it becomes clear that social marketing can play in any of the three major media types – owned, earned, and paid, synergistically combining these categories to maximize reach, relevance, and ROI. Social fits neatly into the owned and earned categories, where a brand owns their social presence and earns mentions from influential fans, thus expanding their own influence and reach. However, to truly leverage the potential of social, you need to add paid to the mix.

Maximizing Paid ROI with social

BIA/Kelsey predicts that social advertising spend will double by 2016, and companies are already seeing returns as high as 16:1 on the Facebook Ad Exchange. Because social ads, and in particular Facebook ads, are shifting towards rich media native advertising in the news feed, context and relevance becomes more important than ever before. Solve Media found that nearly half of media buyers plan on spending on native advertising this year, and as paid ads mingle with organic content, the paid content must bring true relevance and value to Facebook fans to entice rather than alienate them. Luckily, converged media allows us to create and test relevant content prior to paying for distribution.

Testing content on Facebook

Facebook provides the perfect platform for testing and then distributing paid content for many reasons, one being that Consumers want to engage with content that does NOT feel like an advertisement, so if they enjoy your organic content, chances are it will perform well as paid content. Even accepting that organic Facebook posts only reach ~10% of your fans, established social players can still test their content for free on an audience of over 100,000 individuals. Another benefit of Facebook for testing and distributing paid content is the ease of transforming top-performing organic posts into paid content using Page Post Ads. Lastly, Facebook offers the ability to target consumers based on interests as well as demographic information, which allows marketers to advertise only to prospects who match very specific customer profiles.

In essence, Facebook allows you to test content with your existing audience, then easily turn that content into native ads to reach a very specific demographic of new (or existing) customers. When you combine that with rich media interactive advertisements, you create a truly unparalleled high-value experience for consumers. 

What’s in store for 2013

Companies like Lexus are already using rich media native advertising to increase exposure, such as Lexus’ live stream unveiling of their new IS and IS F Sport models in the Facebook news feed, which attracted 100,000 views in just 10 minutes. Social media provides the perfect medium for testing and applying advertisements, but the higher quality standards for content and the need for interactive, engaging ads also makes effective ad creation more involved.

Image 2: Lexus used rich media native advertising on Facebook to live stream a new model unveiling, driving 100,000 views in 10 minutes

Expect the social ad market to mature in 2013, with leading brands allocating larger budgets and seeing greater ROI from their social advertising campaigns. For lessons from 2012’s top social performers, download our white paper Top Social Engagement Lessons from Jetblue, Zappos, Fab.com, and Kirkland’s.

How does your brand allocate budget for digital advertising? Have you considered the new social advertising tools, and if so, how did you measure your results? Let me know in the comments, or reach out to me on Twitter.

Marcus

Marcus Whitney
Marcus Whitney is the CTO and Co-Founder of Moontoast, an innovative social rich media advertising solutions leader that delivers premium rich media experiences and social advertising ROI. Gartner Research has named Moontoast a "Cool Vendor" in Music and eCommerce. Prior to launching Moontoast, Mr. Whitney served as a partner and Director of Technology at Emma (www.myemma.com), a unique email marketing company. He and his team built Emma's email marketing platform from the ground up, enabling Emma to become a multi-million dollar business.

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