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Social media advertising is up – but Facebook may not “like” where it’s going

Here’s something that may be of some comfort to you – or, considering the subject matter, maybe not: You’re not imagining it. There really are more ads on the Internet now than there used to be, especially video ads. That’s just one of the revelations from the Association of National Advertisers‘ 2012 Digital and Social Media Survey.

Online video ad use is the largest growth area in digital advertising, according to the survey, up an impressive 16 percent compared with the same period a year ago to a total 80 percent penetration within ANA membership. Mich of that video marketing is employed within social media and mobile marketing, which in general remain “important part[s] of the marketing mix” in 2012, with 90 percent and 74 percent of marketers currently working inside of those areas, respectively. Breaking down those numbers a little, Facebook remains the most popular Social Media channel for advertisers, with 96 percent of SM marketers using it, followed by Twitter (89 percent), LinkedIn (49 percent), Pinterest (33 percent) and the ever-popular, ever-nebulous “Other” bringing up the rear with 14 percent (I’d be curious to see what percentage is still engaging clients on MySpace, and what percentage of them are involved in the music industry).

For mobile advertisers, there’s still a split in the best way to reach that audience. Branded apps are being employed by 70 percent of mobile advertisers, with 67 percent using QR or AR codes. Text ads are at 53 percent penetration, with non-video ads leading video at 41 percent to 25 percent.

Both social media and mobile marketing are still outperformed by more traditional methods of digital outreach, the survey explains: Email marketing is still employed by a surprising 91 percent of digital marketers, and – less surprising – 95 percent prefer to employ websites where possible (The generic “online advertising” is favored by 89 percent).

An ongoing concern when it comes to all of these outlets, however, is demonstrating their value to clients and executives. 53 percent of those responding to the survey said that there was a “lack of understanding about digital media” within their own organizations, with concerns even more prominent for effective ways to measure and monitor the ROI of digital advertising. “Marketers are rapidly learning what works best for their brands and they look to remain nimble and move to adopt new opportunities,” explained President and CEO of ANA, Bob Liodice. “Platforms offering the most tangible ROI will be favored by marketers moving forward. It is imperative for the industry to standardize measurement practices for digital, social and mobile markets.” Amongst those favored methods that may find themselves losing out in this new metric world order are social media echoes; both Facebook “Like”s and Twitter “Retweets” are proving to be unpopular with marketers, with just 30 and 39 percent of marketers, respectively, finding them of value.

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