Social Media World Forum North America – How Do Paid Ads Fit Within Social Media?

Jason Wellcome, Head of Digital Group SVP, Weber Shandwick

Becky Wang, Digital Strategy & Insights Analytics, Saachi & Saachi

Miguel Banuelos, Director of Accounts, US, Golden Geeko

A social ad can be defined as an ad placed on a social network, or it can be defined as an ad with an engagement element behind it.  By adding an interactive element, the ad gains legs beyond its original intent.  While analysis of social media ads focuses on click-through rates, it’s important that you measure it again your goals, not some disconnected ideal.  Likewise, you can’t measure success on a social ad placement on its own; you have to measure the success of the campaign as a whole.  Wang notes that a benefit of social advertising is that it doesn’t require large and expensive scale; you can test and iterate to see what works in terms of your goals.


There is an ephemeral, fad nature in the social space that you have to expect if you’re going to leverage, according to Banuelos.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by focusing on exact number.  You’ve got to remain present, Wellcome advises, continuing the care and feed of your audience, if you’re going to succeed in social advertising.


Over the last few years, social has moved from something new to something that’s an integrated part of a brand’s marketing.  Brands in parts of Europe, for example, aren’t dipping their toes into digital anymore, Banuelos believes. Brands have tried and succeeded or failed in implementing social media, mobile, and social ads.  Now they’re focusing on how to tune the fit of digital into their other channels.  You need everyone at the table, Wellcome notes, before you can understand how everything fits together.  Wang has seen agencies and brands increase their spend on digital as the companies have assembled sufficient data on the effect of this investment.


So much of social is that is immediate, so it’s all about timing.  You can use social “on the dime”, according to Banuelos, so companies have to leverage that strength, whether it’s as a first step or iteration.  Wang looks to TV as a reminder that social has to be about content, not just the channel.  People have lots of choices, so you have to make sure that they want to engagement with your campaign.  Wellcome understand that while privacy is always a concern, people will accept personalization if it gives them more value.  Banuelos believes that social advertising has to be a service, not an intrusion, if you want audiences to want to pay attention and provide information.  While advertising channels have the most to gain from personalized advertising, they also have the most to lose.  Advertising mediums like text alerts have to be tailored to where people are located at the right time (e.g., don’t send them an offer close to where they work after they’ve gone home for the night.)


“Can we get scale and personalization at the same time?” Wang asks.  We’ll find out in the upcoming months and years and new technologies iterate to become less intrusive, more effective, and so forth.  As technology changes, as feedback from your customers changes, and as your goal changes, Banuelos notes, your strategy must change.

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