“Get Your Hands Dirty” with Social Media Advertising
Note: This is a guest post by Jill Levenson, Sponsorship Chair, SMCATL
On Tuesday evening, February 19, almost 150 social media fiends stormed the eco-chic offices of 22squared to hear some of the brightest social thinkers in Atlanta dig into the topic of pay for play. Our panel consisted of the leaders of two real world partnerships. I’ll call them Team Twitter and Team Facebook.
To be fair, I apply the team labels loosely and also after-the-fact; our panelists each provided a fair and balanced perspective on the channels/tactics that work best for their brands based on their experience and continual experimentation. But I’d be lying if I said that the lively discussion, moderated by SMCATL Programming Chair Candace McCaffery, wasn’t just a little bit contentious.
No doubt we all learned the more for it, too.
My favorite moment of the night:
— Jason Dominy (@jasondominy) February 20, 2013
We touched on just about every paid product from both Facebook and Twitter, and even got into Tumblr’s new ad units. I think I can safely speak for everyone in the crowd when I say that we appreciated the humility with which each panelist admitted in their own way that since the marketplace is moving so freakin’ fast, even they have to work hard to keep up. That spirit of ongoing exploration and experimentation was perhaps the most important lesson of the evening. If there was one thing anyone who touches social should have taken away from the discussion, it’s that the best way to learn what works is simply to get your hands dirty trying out these new ad products. If there could be two takeaways, it’s that success in social media is still based on stellar content and nimble strategy. Here are a couple more highlights:
Native advertising — comprising many of the the paid content options social platforms are offering — is (when done well) non-interruptive, and the way that Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr can surface content on behalf of brands is groundbreaking not only in terms of reach, but also in terms of relevance. Colleen told us how Mitsubishi Electric was able to garner 41 million impressions in a single day with some straightforward Twitter promotion and the right content, and she couldn’t think of any other medium where that kind of reach (or CPM) was possible. Neither can I.
[If you’re into native advertising, I suggest you check out this hot new startup in “ambient, pre-native advertising.” Sure, it’s not real. But it’s also the future. It’s called being-where-your-audience-wants-you-to-be-before-they-even-know-they-want-you-at-all.]
We also learned that Glen Caruso has the most incredible memory for cool Facebook stats. He dropped so many little useful factoids that I couldn’t possibly do him justice here. Honestly, he rattled them off so fast I was concerned he was making them up. Turns out he’s just a crazy numbers guy, which is, of course, awesome. Perhaps Glen will be so kind as to share some of his gold nuggets of knowledge with us via Slideshare so that I don’t have to misquote him.
Robin talked about the (as of Tuesday evening) much anticipated Twitter Ads API, and the kinds of location- and interest-based targeting that would soon be possible for paying customers, in addition to other perks like access to the coveted Twitter Dashboard and verified account status. As always, Twitter must have been listening and answered by issuing its Ads API the very next day.
Robin didn’t confirm a Mashable article on how Twitter plans to assign tweets value, but I for one am extremely curious to see how they’ll decide those valuations and how developers will then be able to utilize the data.
Chris, besides admitting how he likes to confuse people, talked about his process for collaboration with his clients and how it can either impede or enhance a team’s ability to do great work. He emphasized the importance of earning a client’s trust, and how that trust is the key to getting work approved and out the door. It’s also the only way to execute successful a real-time marketing moment like we saw Oreo pull off during the Superbowl. (Word.)
One thing everyone on the panel could agree on is that Twitter, Facebook, BLiNQ, Tumblr, and so on are all extremely willing to provide brand teams with guidance on how to test their new paid tools. Facebook has its Garage, Twitter offers boot camps, Tumblr calls its local sales execs Brand Strategists... you get the idea. And even if there’s a little friendly rivalry among the platforms, you don’t have to choose just one.
So it doesn’t have to be scary to hand over your corporate charge card. I know we’ve already got my boss’s stored in our Facebook Page Admin settings, and so far it’s been a little confusing, but worth every penny. How about you?
One final word: this great event wouldn't have been possible without the support of our sponsor, Shoutlet, and the generosity of 22squared, who provided the fabulous space. Check them out.