By guest editor, Joe Doran, Founder and CEO of Tout, Inc.
re-posted from the Tout Blog with permission. See the original blog article here.
When I am surfing my favorite social networks, I am consistently amazed by how bad the ads are surrounding the social experience. Maybe you go through banner blindness and tune them out, but being an ad guy, I notice them — and then critique them.
The biggest error I see in social advertising is that marketers are shipping the same ads from search or display text ads into the social channels. Big Mistake!
- First: I don’t want your offer. That is not why I am in social environments. I am there to be informed or entertained or connect. To BE SOCIAL!
- Second: your precision targeting, while very cool, doesn’t overcome the awkwardness of a sales-y message I don’t want to see or hear. Remember the first point — I am in Social to be informed or to be entertained or to connect with people I know.
- Third: offers or standard ads aren’t aligned with your overall brand social strategy. You need to think about what are you trying to accomplish in Social and how you are trying to accomplish that? How is the ad integrated into the rest of your social communications? Does it feel like it’s disconnected from the rest of your social presence? If so, how can you expect your consumers to engage with it?
My answer to all the brands out there is that in Social, the Ad is not the Ad. The Content is the Ad. Or said differently, treat the Ad as Social Content.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that Social needs to be baked into everything. In social environments, Social needs to be baked into the ads. Facebook and Twitter have done a good job of bringing tools to make the ads more social but too often advertisers haven’t taken the hint, and have instead focused on what’s worked for them in traditional search and display advertising: asking consumers to Buy Now.
In social, consumers are looking for great content that they can engage with and share. That means great utility content that educates, informs or emotive content that entertains or aspires us. A lot of great marketing is happening on the wall or in the stream, we just have to take that same great content to the ad.
Our recommendation? Stop putting standard “sell” or “offer” ads in social environments. Start putting great sharable content and brand experiences in your ads. You will see engagement rates, likes, comments, follows just accelerate. And then you will see the impact on your brand around awareness, preference of just simple prospects and buyers!
So remember that In Social, The Content is the Ad!