Does social media ad spend equate to consumer engagement?

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Instagram and Pintrest have both announced that they are opening the doors to advertisers, and M&S is aiming to invest 20% of total media spend on social media to increase its story telling. And as if that wasn’t enough social media hype, this was hot on the back of the BBC claiming that it is planning to turbocharge its Instagram profile after an executive claimed that it has learned more about social media from brands, including Burberry, Nike and Netflix.

One could say that social media is making an impact on traditional advertising, as expected in a brand’s pursuit of Generation Y. However, what about the rest of us who are a shade older and perhaps with more disposable income, or younger or I hasten to add, just not interested in social media.

After all not everyone who likes M&S or its demographic customer is necessarily a fan of social media.

So is it a case that social media works for some brands but not all?

Gekko has understood through its shopper tribes research that the shopper journey which finished with a purchase in traditional retail has started online for 52% of those shoppers and therefore highlighting the importance of omnichannel for all brands but can you quantify 20% of your media spend on social media to generate 20% of total sales.

Claims by social media platforms would naturally draw any advertiser to favour one platform over another. After all, this is no different to how traditional media works. What’s interesting are the claims which don’t ultimately add up to sales.

Facebook claims that a recent campaign for mobile carrier Three achieved a click through rate of over 4% and reached 21 million unique users. The fact is, how does this translate to sales? No one knows the truth.

We can assume and attribute spikes to marketing spend, but I suspect in the long run we as consumers don’t necessarily want to mix are Social Media with brand advertising, and the negative feedback Instagram is receiving demonstrates this.

Now I don’t deny that social media is an amazing tool with which to engage, enthuse and affiliate a brand to a target audience and with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube claiming over two billion global users (101 million in the UK). It’s undeniably a powerful tool but we use it to connect with friends, tell our story and more importantly for pleasure to view and laugh at videos like Fenton the dog and sadly Psy’s Gangnam style, which to date is the most viewed You Tube video with more than two billion views.

Brands and social media platforms should consider, do we really want to be sold to every time we dip into social profiles and email via our smart phone a recorded 214 times a day. That’s a lot of ads and brands to digest and perhaps get annoyed with

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2 thoughts on “Does social media ad spend equate to consumer engagement?

  1. Michael Dakin says:

    In my opinion it depends strongly on the product. Tv’s and large domestic appliances l would use a Google search to find views and opinions from leading bodies and conumers.
    Social media has influenced me in selection of golf equipment and clothes. Also cosmetics and smaller electronic items have been influenced by social media. It depends on the target audience the supplier is aiming at. As much influence a producer can generate for his product he will tend to use all means of media. After all ‘marketing means business:

    • gekkofm says:

      Thanks for the comment Michael! I agree, it definitely depends on the product. When it comes to high ticket items, I suspect a more thoughtful approach will be taken to research, for example using Google and review sites. As for smaller items, and especially ones that may be used by celebrities prominent on social media (e.g. cosmetics and clothing), it is definitely a factor. Audience is key in deciding whether social media can be successful in this way. KB

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