As would be expected with any maturing medium, we are now starting to see more traditional marketing approaches and measurement being applied to social media advertising. Marketers are realizing that, given the vast scale, addressability and effectiveness, social has the ability to help them achieve real business objectives.
When planning their social media strategy, it is becoming more and more common for an advertiser to think in terms of GRP, brand lift and even sales lift measures. And the media plans describe classic purchase-funnel journeys and customer relationship management tactics. The original and somewhat novel social media metrics that the major platforms fostered (likes, fans, followers, etc) aren't necessarily being phased out, but they are now viewed in the context of other, classic marketing KPIs.
It is now possible to measure traditional marketing KPIs within social media. For example, my company did a study with Datalogix that showed that social media ads drove 3x brand lift for a major national snack food brand.
This is a good thing for social media. “Old marketing” is merging in. Brands are leaning on the social platforms to help support their primary business objectives. But there are some metrics that are unique to social media which have true meaning and are likely here to stay. They are not part of the “old” lexicon because new technologies are responsible for enabling them and so they have only recently become possible.
The entire phenomenon of virality, for example, is a powerful effect on which most CMOs are now quite focused. Why has content marketing and native advertising become such a priority for brands? It’s simple; great content gets shared. And marketing that is received from a friend or family member can have an exponentially greater level of impact. Also, earned media is somewhat related to “word of mouth marketing,” which as any CMO will tell you is by far the most valuable form of branding. Plus it’s essentially free. Infinite ROI. (CFOs also love this one.)
A true social media tactic, this “new marketing” is merging into traditional thinking. And with technology not only enabling the latest of these opportunities, but undoubtedly a host of future opportunities, these strategies likely have a permanent seat at the table -- with room for more. Further, we now have the technology and analytical tools to translate some of these new social media metrics into numbers that lead to a clearer understanding of a brand's ROI on paid social media. Guess what? This stuff really works.
“Old marketing” and “new marketing” are not just on a collision course, they are actually converging and creating entirely new (and sometimes hybrid) tactics. The end result will be some new combination of approaches and metrics which will be the standard going forward.
It is truly incredible how rapidly the marketing playbook is being edited, and more incredible how many of the revisions have occurred in the last few years. It won’t be long before this “new” combined set of marketing strategies are, in fact, the “old” ways of doing things. And not long after that when they are challenged by the next wave of technology-enabled opportunities.
Sean O'Neal is President of Adaptly. Previously, Mr. O’Neal was global CMO at The Daily Mail Online, and prior to that was President of Vizu Corporation. He can be reached at email@example.com .
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