Social Media Advertising Grows, But TV and Print Still More Effective

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Social media advertising is supposed to be the next big thing.
Scratch that, it's already big, and it's growing.
According to emarketer, Facebook is one of the primary driving forces behind the growth.
The reason? Facebook is enormous.
Latest figures show that Facebook has over 500 million active users.
That's over 500 million people who log in almost every day to chat to friends, play games, use applications, and, view ads.
Not that they're signing in specifically to trawl the ads on their page, but they seem to absorb the ads, like osmosis.
It's been projected that in 2011, 10.
8% of online ad spend in the US will find its way to social networks, and a large chunk of that will end up on Facebook.
One of the reasons marketers prefer social media over other online avenues is the fact that the other avenues aren't particularly effective.
On B2C Marketing Insider, Steve Allan asks a rather pertinent question: what was the last banner ad you noticed? If you're anything like the majority of the online population, you probably can't remember.
Now think of the last TV ad that made an impression on you.
How about a print ad? Regardless of whether impressions are good or bad, you're far more likely to remember TV or print ads than anything you see online.
Why is this? Well, Allan hypothesesis that it could be that we, as a passive audience, have been attuned to traditional media to the degree that even when we're flipping through pages or making coffee during ad breaks we still subconsciously take note of the marketing spiel.
Perhaps we take it for granted that ads are part of the viewing/reading experience.
Perhaps the media allow for greater creativity and the fact that we're essentially a captive audience gives marketers more time to get our attention.
Online we're more active.
We're more in control.
We have the option to click the convenient little X and move on.
We're distracted by other things on our screens so we don't have attention to spare for banner or skyscraper ads, and pop-ups and those annoying ads that float across our vision are such a hindrance that we don't read them on principle.
So, why are Facebook ads more effective? Maybe it's because we're more relaxed when we're on Facebook.
We're not anxiously researching something, or reading upsetting news headlines or concentrating on something work or study-related.
We're in a frame of mind that is more akin to watching TV or reading a magazine.
We don't mind being distracted by the odd colourful ad or two; we'll even take the time to read them.
That's not to say that advertisers on Facebook can be lazy.
They still need to do all the market research necessary to ensure they reach their highly targeted audience and they need to keep things innovative, fresh and new, because that's what people on Facebook have come to expect.
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