Telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom take social networks seriously, according to a new study by comScore, Inc. which revealed social networking sites accounted for 13.8 billion display ad impressions in August 2009. The study also showed that while display ads skew toward younger audiences, advertisers are marketing to every age group.
Display Ad, Demographic Targeting
• Ages 15-24 29.0%
• Ages 25-34 22.3%
• Ages 35-44 21.1%
• Ages 45-54 15.9%
• Ages 55+ 11.7%
"[This] data suggests that every demographic segment is reached via social networking sites and that no particular age segment accounts for an overwhelming percentage of ads delivered," said Mike Read, comScore managing director, Europe. "Given the overall reach and volume of ads delivered on social networking sites, brand advertisers who ignore this channel may be missing a significant opportunity and enabling their competitors to gain a dominant share of voice in the channel."
While the study was confined to the United Kingdom, it does reveal which industries are placing their faith in social networks. Beyond the study, our research shows entertainment and travel are particularly well suited to content delivery, which allows these segments to rely on display ads less while still benefiting from significant reach via groups and fan pages.
The dominance by telecommunications mirrors major media spending reports, according to Brandweek. The The Nielsen Co. recently released a study that shows marketers in telecommunications were among the handful of industries to spend more on advertising in the first eight months of 2009 then they did in the same period in 2008. Fast food, insurance, lending, and cable/satellite companies also spent more on advertising.
Building A Better Display Ad
For all the increased investment in display ads, some companies still struggle with the medium. One of the most common mistakes marketers make is relying on logo dominant display ads as opposed to ads that make rational, emotional, or visceral appeal. Instead, too many are still stuck on attention-grabbing intrusive visuals with "click here" demands.
The second most common mistake is choosing an appropriate landing page once consumers do click on the advertisement. Most marketers attempt to drive social network participants to a sales page or static Web site as opposed to a social media site or social network page that is better suited to the medium. Online, the more effective solution is to drive consumers to a point of engagement.
For example, Flip Video, which is currently running a display ad on Facebook, drives consumers to a Facebook fan page, which includes uncensored consumer testimonials and product displays. For Flip Video, the tactic makes more sense than driving consumers directly to the store or pitch page.
So what does all this mean? The best marketers are investing more in a recession, investing more online, and investing in social media programs that integrate well with traditional and new media. Is it any wonder more companies have made social media part of the mix? Not really.