Social Networks & Advertising: The New Frontier?

This way of advertising will spill over into other channels. The underlying concept will influence the way advertising is done in all media, not just online
– Debra Aho Williamson, Senior Analyst, eMarketer

According to AdAge, marketers will spend $1.9 Billion on social networking sites like MySpace and by the year 2010. The implications of this study are perhaps greater than they may seem. For example, $1.9 Billion is equivilent to roughly 25% of the entire television upfront expenditure in 2006. It is therefore imperative that advertising and media agencies familiarize themselves with social networking and other emerging content vehicles.

As of now, one might argue that technology and new media are outpacing the ability and expertise of some well known agencies. Rather than fear change, decision-makers and marketers should embrace fresh, exciting and potentialy more effective means of reaching consumers. One way to do this is experimentation. For example, a recent iMediaConnection article urges marketers to:

1. Get an iPod to better understand media that includes podcasts and other user generated transferable content.
2. Write a blog to better understand the tools that are being used to spread viral messages like wildfire.
3. Subscribe to real simple syndication, or RSS, to be in tune with how it works.
4. Set up a Flickr account to understand photo sharing and the social networking aspects of photos.
5. Create a profile on MySpace, TagWorld or some other social networking site to see how it works and better understand how it could be leveraged.
6. If you don’t have the time to embrace it, hire someone who does!

MySpace, podcasts, mobile video, RSS should not be viewed as obstacles for creativity. On the contrary, new media will offer fantasic new ways for both creative marketing and consumer interaction. When asked about changing consumer habits, user generated content, and peer to peer social networking sites (like MySpace), Rupert Murdoch replied:

I’m quite comfortable with it. The important thing is that you have to realize it. You have to accommodate and change.

Related Links:

MySpace vs. iVillage

Rupert Murdoch is Tech-Savvy

Facebook & Interpublic Partnership = Advertising 2.0

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[tags] social networking, myspace, facebook, advertising agencies, rupert murdoch, News Corp., AdAge,, new media [/tags]