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How effective are social networks?

12 clues about how advertising works in these media

  • Key4Communications

The answer to the question in the headline is: "It depends." If it comes to getting direct sales, social networking is not the right tool, with exceptions such as Dell, but it is useful to strengthen customer loyalty and improve the relationship with the consumer. And increasingly so, according to the Social Media Intelligence report by Adobe Marketing Cloud.

1. Marketers are increasingly using advertising in Facebook. According to this research, the number of impressions per post have increased 85%, and clicks, 29%. Effectiveness has also improved, as the click- through-rate (the number of clicks divided by the total impressions) grew an impressive 275%.

2. Also, Facebook is still the social network that brings more traffic to companies’ websites, although its influence has fallen 20% over last year. Networks with stronger growth are Twitter (258%) and Pinterest (84%).

3. In terms of revenue per visitor, Twitter is again the fastest growing network (300%), followed by Pinterest (150%). Facebook also shows increases: 39% more than a year ago.

4. So it is not surprising that investment in advertising in these media can reach $11 billion in 2017, compared to $4.7 billion last year (according to BIA / Kelsey).

5. And above all thanks to mobile devices: 11% of Facebook's revenue in 2012 came from advertising impressions and interactions via smartphones and tablets, but by the fourth quarter of this year the figure was already 23%. In the case of Twitter, revenues from smartphones and tablets already surpass those recorded by users connected to computers.

6. According to a survey by Oracle, only 4% of marketing professionals think that social networks have not changed their relationship with the client. 85% speak of improvements, 81% cite the opportunity to hear the views of consumers, 84% say that they have boosted affinity with clients, and 84% suggest that networks enhance brand loyalty.

7. Forrester is more critical with social networks. According to the company, the publications of the brands on Facebook only reach 16% of their followers. Companies are not entirely happy with Twitter also: only 55% of professionals surveyed by the firm are satisfied with the actions in this network, a percentage that is not much below Linkedin (62%), YouTube (59%), and Google (56%). Marketers are demanding more information and tools to guide their activity.

8. But they still value that Twitter offers the ability to reach their target audience and speak directly to these clients, strengthening consumer loyalty by increasing interactions and communication.

9. Marketers must be careful with an excessive focus on commercial messages: 83% of social networking users believe that advertising is annoying.

10. So the best bet is usually a content strategy: firms can offer content beyond the catalogue of the company, such as links, comments, customer service or even humour and trivia. These contents must be related to the values of the brand, but it is not necessary even to mention it directly.

11. Despite the difficulties, companies continue to rely on social networks. According to a recent Google research, 45.6% of U.S. companies with sales over a billion dollars will increase by 10% their budget on these media. The increase will be between 11% and 30% for 15.9 % of these companies.

12. Which makes sense when you consider that Americans spend about 12 hours a month on social networks, according to Business Insider, a figure that reaches 20 hours in the case of young people between 18 and 24.

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