By Garrett Stanczak
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts on this blog, social media is the future of modern business. If a company wishes to thrive, then a robust social media presence is essential. The same is true for advertising campaigns as well. As print media begins to slowly die, more and more people are turning to the screens of their mobile devices and Twitter feeds. These are all perfect advertising opportunities that a successful business needs to take advantage of.
Aside from the large surplus of advertising consumers on the social media frontier, what other reasons are there to advertise on social media? An article by Shea Bennett of Social Times lists a multitude of reasons, but the big ones are a lower cost, establishing a two-way communication channel with consumers, and immediately measurable results (2012).
Even ignoring all of that, there is one other advantage that social media advertising has over traditional methods. Whereas traditional advertising involves throwing a message out there and hoping that the intended audience sees it, companies who advertise on social media are able to target a specific audience directly. So while traditional ads serve a mixed audience and have to utilize a broad, nonspecific message, social media ads will likely only serve the intended audience and can use as much technical jargon as they want.
This advantage is illustrated in a Marketing Land article by Sonny Ganguly. Ganguly writes about all of the different tools advertisers use on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. One such tool is called interest targeting which sends ads to the social media pages of specific users “by looking at their self-reported interests, activities, skills, pages/users they have engaged with, etc.” (2015). By making use of this tool, advertisers are able to ensure that their ads are only seen by those who would be interested in them, enabling them to make much more specialized ads than traditional advertising allows without fear of alienating anyone. An example of interest targeting is depicted below.
In short, advertising on social media is not only cheaper and enables companies to spread their message to an ever-growing population of viewers, but it allows companies to target their audience specifically. This is an advantage no other form of advertising can offer, and it is an advantage that smart companies should be capitalizing on.
Marketing 101 – Social Media vs Traditional Media by Shea Bennett, 2012
Why Social Media Advertising Is Set To Explode In The Next 3 Years by Sonny Ganguli, 2015