As An Ad Medium, Social Media Now On Par With VOD, HDTV

Social media may have reached critical mass as a consumer medium, but its role as a mass advertising medium is still emerging. But if the initial findings of a comprehensive tracking study of Americans' use of social media are any indication, it may prove to be more than just a powerful "listening tool" for marketers." The findings, which are being released today from "The Faces of Social Media," a joint research venture of Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications' Center for Media Research, indicate that social media has already attained the kind of advertising influence and acceptability as advanced forms of TV advertising such as video-on-demand and HDTV.

A significant of majority (59%) of social media users surveyed for the study said advertising is a "fair price to pay for social media sites and features," though that percentage has actually declined four percentage points from 63% in 2009.

A smaller, but significant share of social media users (15%) said they are more inclined to purchase from brands that advertise on social media sites, a level Knowledge Networks says compares "favorably with levels found among HDTV viewers and VOD users." That percentage is down slightly from 16% in 2009.

While the companies did not release details on specific advertising categories, Patricia Graham, Chief Strategy Officer of Knowledge Networks said the influence "varies widely" by advertiser and brand. The ongoing tracking study measures the effects of social media on consumers covering 39 specific product categories, ranging from financial services to giant retailers to packaged goods.

Another early insight disclosed as part of this morning's release is that mobile platforms and applications can greatly compound the advertising and brand effects of social media. Of 13- to 54-years-old smartphone owners who have apps on their phone, almost a third (32%) said they are more inclined to purchase the brands that advertise or have marketing messages in the app. And almost three quarters (70%) of them said ads are a fair price to pay compared to social media's 59 percent.

The study also found that ads within apps also appeal to smartphone owners between the ages of 13 and 54, with 40% saying that ads they see while using their smartphones are usually relevant to their "needs and interests."

"Marketers can expect more impact reaching social media users via mobile, based on these new findings," said Chuck Martin, director of the Center for Media Research. "As more people move to smartphones, there will be an increased opportunity for advertisers to improve their reach to consumers with increased relevance."

2 comments about "As An Ad Medium, Social Media Now On Par With VOD, HDTV".
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  1. David Trahan from Mr Youth, November 29, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

    To start, the number of consumers who trust and interact with brands in social is still far too low to say that social had maxed out or reached the level of TV. Social media is in it's toddler phase. Some brands are still dipping their toes while others are in for a swim, the studies you reference (as do others) are highly skewed by a digital audience while non-digital consumers are largely ignored. Everything about the digital, social and mobile mediums is merging together and is creating (and will create more) room for innovation and evolution as social utility and interaction becomes more accessable, useful and intelligent. Anyone who thinks we're anywhere but in the beginning is out of touch with social.

  2. Dennis Yu from, November 29, 2010 at 9 a.m.

    We have brands that are shifting TV dollars into Facebook because they can buy ultra targeted traffic at a fraction of the price. For example-- females 30-45 who graduated from Harvard, have kids, and are interested in learning a language for 20 cent CPMs. Then imagine hundreds of interest targets at 100 million impressions a day for only $20k.

    For those who are effectively advertising on Facebook and measuring, the ROI, ROAS, or whatever revenue/conversion metric is quite favorable.

    No, I don't work for Facebook-- just bullish about what we've seen in campaigns.

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