Social media is very much a part of our daily lives. In fact 8 in 10 Australians are active users on one or more platforms. Many users have their own intentions for use on social media. Whether it be keeping in touch with others, enjoying and sharing entertaining content or keeping up to date with the latest news and events. However, there is no doubt that all social media users are involved with or have come across social media marketing.
Marketing through social media if done wisely, is an extremely powerful business tool for brands big and small. Each platform provides their own special framework that opens a number of opportunities for business. Marketers have used this avenue to generate increased revenue and customers for brands, whilst growing their online presence. With a promising market potential this way of digital marketing is now the norm. But does one ever stop to think where it all started? or where is it heading?
Let us paint a picture for you.
Put simply, social media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Marketing aside, the first platform to take this definition is Six Degrees. In 1997, the website named after the six degrees of the separation theory allowed users to create personal profiles to then friend other users. The platform even allowed unregistered users to connect to profiles.
It wasn’t until some time that another platform came to the scene. In 2001 the discovery engine Stumble Upon was born. This website allowed it’s users to literally stumble upon entertainment based on the interests of their profile. Basically anything imaginable on the internet was on their page. What made it a social media platform was the element of being able to follow other users and see what they have shared and their interests. Essentially with more ‘friends’ and interests, users were able to discover more.
A year later came another social platform, Friendster. Its creation filled the gap between users of Six Degrees. Instead of simply befriending user profiles and sharing content, Friendster allowed its users to have contact with one another.
Soon after, two big players launched in the space sharing this new feature – LinkedIn and Myspace. Whilst operating in a similar manner to other platforms, LinkedIn was able to draw authenticity by catering its formality. Essentially the platform allowed business people and professionals across the globe to represent their company to network and discuss what’s hot and what’s not in the business world. During this same time, Myspace launched.
Myspace was also able to separate itself from the clutter of typical platforms by centering itself on music. Users were still able to access all the features of other platforms such as user profiles and sharing content with friends. However now they could stream music from their favourite artists on the site.
In 2004 Facebook was born. A platform that would change everything for the future of social media. The site featured all the latest capabilities of past platforms. What really lead it to victory was its act of the first social media marketing. They started as banners that ran across or down the side of a page. These banners were Facebook Flyers. Marketers were able to purchase these spaces to target to specific schools. This was done based on the email addresses which users signed up with. These ads made up most of the revenue for that year.
Facebook later changed this marketing avenue to Flyers Pro. Which was an auction based model of the original. Marketers now had to place bids to have their ad on a banner. However the spaces were targeted on more attributes than just the schools. Now there was the addition of gender, age, location, relationship status and the list goes on.
Given the rising success of Facebook, others were starting to join in on social media marketing. In order to stay ahead, Facebook launched a new feature – Pages. Basically a page could cover any topic. But what really stood out were business pages. These pages enabled businesses to have a second website almost. Being able to share content of their own whilst engaging with customers on another level than ever before. While this sent Facebook sky high, there was something in the works that would set the future of social media marketing. In 2007, Facebook launches Facebook Ads, “a completely new way of advertising online” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the platform claimed.
Facebook is now the most popular social network with 2.27 billion users worldwide. With such a large pool of users there is no doubt that Facebook Ads Manager has the capacity to reach any audience in one way or another. With countless Ad types at your disposal, Audience Insights helps you understand consumers so that you can reach them in the best way possible. Facebook uses multiple platforms for its advertising system. Facebook now owns the very popular photo and video sharing social network Instagram and shares the same ad managing application.
What was once thought to be a video sharing website, YouTube has since established itself as a social media website. This was possible due to them being able to provide a network for people to connect and share. What’s special about advertising on YouTube is that you can reach the people who matter. Ads on the site take place as a pre-roll that plays before a video. However the ads must always be relevant to the genre of the video. This way marketers are able to target those that are of interest in their product or service by selecting the right video.
For example, a new pair of glasses protects the eyes of people who spend a lot of time looking at screens. An ad for this product could be shown before a game review due to the screen time of video-gamers.
Another current social network is Twitter. The platform centres around world news and celebrities are their main users. Ads on this site appear as promoted content that comes in many forms. These ads can be evidently separate from organic content. Much like other advertising methods, the ads are targeted through user activity on the site.
LinkedIn currently runs its marketing much like Twitter does. Although promoted content is referred to as sponsored. What LinkedIn does differently is sponsored messages, known as InMail. These are ads in a text form sent directly to audiences’ inboxes. They usually gain more conversions than regular email ads. The ads on the site are all about business promotion. In fact the platform is the top business to business lead generator.
Google has a long history of failed social media attempts. However one that has begun to stand out from the failures is Google Plus. The platform consists of groups known as circles. In these circles can be a certain group of people or topic. The content in that space is always relevant to the users involved. +Post ads allows marketers to select certain content to post to the Google Display Network much like a regular ad. This type of ad has potential recently. This is due the instant user engagement of the ads. Compared to other ads that have deeper redirection paths.
The final form of social media marketing that is booming today is via Snapchat. The application acts as a multimedia messaging app that has evolved rapidly since it’s birth in 2011. What’s different about Snapchat is it’s unique ad formats that this generation loves. Through augmented reality and creative overlays, Snapchat has been able to provide brands with new and engaging ways to advertise.
It is hard to picture where something will be in a few years. However we can make predictions based on what’s happening right now. The biggest concern for the future of social media marketing is competitiveness. As this method becomes more popular, the market will begin to be saturated with content. This will make it harder to stand out organically. That way larger sums of money are required to reach further. This is why it’s important to have social media marketing experts behind professional ad accounts, so you don’t waste ad revenue.
Marketers also are now seeking other platforms to utilise as well as big players Facebook and Twitter. This could be due to recent changes to of Facebook’s news feed. They now want it to be more content from family and friends than business. Twitter on the other hand is deleting accounts due to suspicious or spam like activity. Due to this many brands have lost followers which help measure the success of campaigns.
Technological advancement has been a huge factor in the success of digital marketing. For instance, the speed in which consumers can operate is now more than ever. Now on for devices than ever before, on the go or stationary. Along with this, the quality of content is increasing. Especially in video content as cameras have advanced dramatically — reference vid blog. As this all advances, it actually becomes more affordable. That way the consumer pool is growing as more people gain access to the internet. These are just some of the many predictions we can make about the future of social media marketing.
Now that you know the history and where social media marketing currently stands, it’s up to you to make use of this promising digital marketing avenue. Here at Argonyx Marketing we pride ourselves on building online communities and utilising paid advertising for businesses big and small. Not only are we experts in the field, we know how to stand out from the crowd, ensuring you get the best possible results for ad spend.