Social Media Advertising: Is It Worth It?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are all websites that are insanely interesting and addicting. These sites are free to use, and the only downside is the annoying advertisements and sponsored posts.

Ads EverywhereSo do these sponsored posts on social media websites really work? Do companies have a social media presence to build awareness or for a direct response?

Some recent statistics show that marketing via social media might not be for a direct response for a brand. They found that “70% of brand marketers view social media advertising as a tool to build brand awareness rather than for driving direct response.”

This is an interesting figure, and in my experience with using social media it is accurate. Whenever I see ads on twitter I acknowledge them, but I never read them completely. Usually I will only look at the profile picture and the name to see who is advertising.

For young people, such as myself, we use a variety of different media to absorb information and to have fun. Knowing this, companies must try and target their demographic using an assortment of websites and tactics.

Rick Wion, McDonald’s director of social media, stated that “it’s about the level of engagement…” and “…you should look at Facebook and Twitter as a way to take your restaurant experience outside your doors.” Interview

TwitterFor me, seeing a tweet from McDonald’s isn’t going to make me rush out the door and go buy a McRib, but it will get their name and products into my mind.  I believe companies that advertise on Facebook or Twitter are getting exactly what they want, brand awareness.

Facebook now has 1.15 billion active users along with over 1 million active advertisers. In the second quarter of this year, Facebook hauled in $1.60 billion in advertising revenue, representing 88% of their total revenue.

FacebookThis is pretty astonishing considering the low level of engagement from the advertisements placed on Facebook. The ads are placed along the outside of the webpage and every so often you will see a sponsored post in your newsfeed.  Since Facebook has this many advertisers and such great revenue from them, wouldn’t you suspect them to create new ways of pushing their ads out?

Imagine if there were popup advertisements on the desktop or mobile version of Facebook or Pinterest. Many people (including myself) would be very annoyed.

There have been numerous reports about Facebook advertisements, and about sponsored posts coming to Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg discussed the future of monetizing Instagram, stating that they are “building Instagram to be a business.”

For all of you Instagrammers there is no need to be immediately worried about seeing ads placed in your timeline. Zuckerberg also said “we think the right focus for now is to continue increasing the footprint of Instagram and, when the right time comes, we’ll think about advertising.”

Apparently social media websites are all about generating profits. They take in payments for advertisements so that companies can build their brand and product awareness.

In their defense, these advertisements are worth wading through. And because these websites are free to users, perhaps it is a small price we have to pay to enjoy the latest social media buzz.

Spencer Hemann

4 thoughts on “Social Media Advertising: Is It Worth It?

  1. I agree with the last paragraph of this post. Advertising is necessary for such services to be available to us for free. Advertising can definitely be annoying, but it hardly affects the way we use social media. It is the job of the advertisers to make us engage with their advertisements on these social networks. Advertisements don’t require our engagement to continue using social media, but without them we will be required to pay to continue using social media.

  2. This post was very informative, I can tell you definitely did your research here. However, I can’t help but wonder which you think is more effective: Social Media Ads or Television Ads. Is there significant and comparable data available to answer this question? If Social Media Ads are proving to be more effective in building brand awareness, then do you think we will see a reduction in the amount of television advertising we currently have? Also, how do you think this will effect the prices for ad time during prime time television if this shift were to happen?

  3. This was very informative, kuddos to you. I agree with how advertisement is necessary, but is it always necessary? I do not know. I know that when I go on twitter now all I see in between my friends tweets are ads for things I do not care about. Kind of like youtube, sure I want to watch this video, but do I care viagra? No. I guess all I have to say I guess it just depends on what is being advertise and on what field (Facebook, Twitter,etc).

  4. Advertising has a place and time in every media usage. However, you do rise a good question of how effective are these ads out there? Personally, when I use my social media such as Facebook or Twitter I simply surpass the ads on the side or being tweeted because most of the time they have no significance to me nor are they targeting me directly. The one place I do find myself brainstorming about them is when I’m on Spotify or Pandora because I have no choice but to sit through the annoying jingle or selling strategy that they are persuading me towards. The one time I took initiative to use those ads was because I heard from peers that the site provided good information so when it did pop up on my Pandora I took that opportunity to explore it. Overall, I think that advertising strategies have decreased among social media sites.

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