Where’s Social Media Marketing Heading?

What’s the last ad you remember seeing? There’s a good chance it was on a social media website or app.

Social media platforms slowly eased users into advertisements – afraid they’d scare them away to other social networks (like MySpace did when Facebook was launched).

This past year, social media advertisements suddenly boomed. Open up any of your social media apps and your eyes might flock towards an ad. In 2013, major news arose in the social media world:

— Twitter stocks were successful in IPO.
— Foursquare successfully monetized as it partnered with major companies, including Verizon FiOS, Visa and MasterCard.
— Snapchat (which is still ad-free) turned down Mark Zuckerberg’s $3 billion offer.
— Instagram introduced its first advertisements.

So what about 2014? There will be a lot more ad and money talk surrounding the most popular social media platforms. If you haven’t already noticed in these first few weeks of January, advertisements will skyrocket.

In fact, Business Insider expects more than $10 billion to be spent globally on social media ads by 2017. A hefty amount of that money won’t be promoted images or links – but video.

Here are three social media platforms that allow brands to advertise via video – and the companies that are doing it right.

1. Facebook video ads

Just a month ago, Facebook began testing video ads on users’ news feeds. If these ads are successful, the company could make up to $8.4 billion per year in revenue. Just a handful of brands are being tested with a “small number of people,” according to Variety.com.

Why did Facebook give this video ad a try? 64 percent of web viewers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. But if your brand is interested, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. According to Variety, “Facebook has been asking upwards of $2.5 million per day for targeted campaigns.”

Who’s done it right?

Summit Entertainment’s Divergent

Why it works

This is a young adult sci-fi film. And while teens are a decreasing population on Facebook, the majority of U.S. teens still use Facebook daily. The series of video ads for Divergent are able to be target directly at the group who’d be interested in seeing the movie (and will most likely dress up at the midnight premier).

2. Snapchat “ads”

Although Snapchat hasn’t introduced paid ads yet, some companies are doing their own marketing – both via videos and pictures – with this relatively new social app. Many companies are offering fans coupons through the “stories” feature, such as 16 Handles – a NY yogurt chain. Other brands are connecting to fans by giving them unique content – like the New Orleans Saints, who sends videos of new merchandise, sneak peeks of new uniforms, and more.

Since Snapchat hired Instagram’s ex-director of business operations in December, ads are expected to be sold in the near future. With more than 100 million users, companies will have a chance to share both still images and videos to a mass of fans.

Who’s done it right?

Taco Bell

Why it works

The fast-food company isn’t offering coupons via Snapchat. Instead, they’re focusing on brand loyalty and introducing comeback or new products. The first snap was used to announce the returning Beefy Crunch Burrito. And once Twitter followers began adding Taco Bell as a friend, they were sent a personalized snap.

3. Vine “ads”

Like Snapchat, Vine does not sell ad spots. But that’s not stopping brands from marketing through the social media website. Most brands have their own Vine page, just like they would on Twitter or Instagram. Here, fans can like, share, and comment on six-seconds-or-less videos.

And some brands are creating Vine videos that display as commercials on TV – yes, they’re under the six-second mark. Dunkin’ Donuts was the first during a MNF pregame show.

Who’s done it right?


Why it works

Many of Dove’s six-second Vines are a continuation of its “Real Beauty” campaign and Self-Esteem project. You’ll see very little Dove products in the videos, as the company chooses to focus the content with encouraging quotes and positive messages. These Vine “ads” continue to show the world what Dove stands for.

(Flickr / Kevin Krejci)


Guest author Kelley McGrath is working as a marketing professional and freelance writer. And she loves to contribute to Social Barrel whenever she can.


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