Not all media can be the BBC; most organizations rely on advertising revenue to continue producing content. This is why non-Netflix show will be back “after these messages,” or why a look through the Edmonton Journal will bombard you with more ads than news. Those ads are here to stay, but new ones are on the way because social has found an effective alternative.
The amount of time people are spending online is rising (for the average Canadian it’s over 36 hours per month), and increasingly more time is spent on social media (it’s about 20% of internet activity). Over 65% of American adults now have social media accounts, a ten fold increase from 2005, and social media is now a source for news for 1 in 5 people (it was 1 in 4 during the U.S. election).I could go on, but I feel you get the idea.
The implications for advertisers are obvious. The audience is growing fastest on social media rather than traditional broadcasts and publications, and their marketing strategy needs to reflect that. This isn’t to say that they should turn away from previous mediums (more than half of people still get their news from TV), but to focus your advertising messages on radio would bespeak extreme naïvety of current trends.
Social media lends itself to a specific kind of advertising that’s growing in popularity, “native advertising.” This is essentially a high content advertisement, as compared to the regular commercials or pop-ups. You’ve probably seen one as an article in a newspaper or blog or in sponsored content from your favourite producers.
They are more effective (with more views and shares) than ads on more traditional mediums, they are seen as more trustworthy, and are a growing revenue source for news companies (by 2018 it’ll make up 25%). As people increasingly take in more online content, native advertising will become more common for good business reasons. Banner ads, YouTube ads, and spam all have low interaction and they’re ignored, skipped, and blocked without second thought. Native advertising manages to match the consumer’s desire for content with the organizations desire for business. Better content means more views, more shares, and more sales. Since advertising is a natural part of our economic system I have no problem buying a product if it’s marketed to me in an intelligent way that can both entertain and educate. It’s better than the alternative, and I hope organizations take advantage of this online trend.