Social Advertising Isn’t Really Advertising


That’s why they should consider changing the name.

Because the name “Social Advertising” throws off too many marketers and advertisers.  They think it is advertising.

But it really isn’t.

First, social advertising should promote social content.  Putting banner ads in people’s Twitter and Facebook streams isn’t the way to engage them on social channels.  Brands should be using social advertising to push people to interactive and multimedia content on those channels.

And this is where it gets funky.

Because regular advertising works best in long, sustained campaigns.  Repetition over the length of a campaign hammers home brand awareness and increases message penetration.

But this doesn’t work for social content.


Because social content has a short lifespan.  Days, a week, but rarely longer than that (ask any blogger how many people are reading posts from last year – or even last month.  Answer: Not many).  People simply don’t share and engage with old content on the Internet like they do with the new stuff.

New content is the currency of Internet.  Search engines love it.  Social networks share it.  It’s a fact: New content has a better shot of going viral. 

And going viral happens in a flash.  A piece of social content reaches a certain amount of viewers and then it will tip.  WHAM!  And suddenly the content is viral – being shared, being commented on, being written about by media and bloggers.  It will explode everywhere.

From a few hundred views to thousands…

tens of thousands…

hundreds of thousands…

even millions.

The goal of social advertising isn’t to build long sustained brand awareness campaigns.  It is to provide lift-off for social content.  To power your content to find the tipping point it needs to penetrate its target audience.  Social advertising is a jet propulsion pack.  It needs to be fast, powerful and pushing in the right direction.

And that’s why social advertising isn’t always enough for lift-off.   You also need to help lift-off by putting the content on your own social channels, on your customers and partners’ social channels (even your employees).  And how about pitching it to media and bloggers?  Or entering into a sponsorship or syndication deal with them?

Lift-off.  That’s what you want social advertising provide.


Consider the Source

Pitching Social Content

6 Responses to “Social Advertising Isn’t Really Advertising”

  1. Totally agree with this. You really need a lift-off for the content to go viral, promoting posts and tweets will not get you the virality needed. You’ll have to share it with all the people you possibly know and put some more extra efforts by inviting some intellectual people.

  2. Intellectuals are crucial to going viral… 😉

  3. Social is…social. If you are a Taurus at an Aquarius celebration, there may not be much common ground, socially speaking.

  4. Barry, I have no idea what you’re saying, so I’ll just smile and nod.

  5. Sorry, I was trying to be “cute” but make the point that when Social marketers go beyond allowing Social to fulfill the “mission” of…social, they demand too much, and so far, get too little. Let’s ask this: Would you ask a single horse to pull a 100 car freight train? Would you use a pea shooter to bring down an elephant? Is Social monetizing it’s universe from the wrong direction? Facebook and others may have/are allowing themselves to become two dollar hookers in the marketing world, certainly in the mind of consumers. Social is…social. Put it this way: The facilitating of comunications and information OF A SOCIAL NATURE between social groups, whether friends, family, (not business) or communities (NOT BUSINESS) is, in my opinion, the mission of Social. Anything else is a distortion of the purpose, and of the reason(s) consumers bought into the Social sphere in the first place.
    Just an opinion.

  6. Thanks for clarifying. While I agree that Facebook is having a difficult time monetizing and its efforts can seem clumsy and gimmicky, I don’t agree that business and marketing don’t have a place in social. Social is relationship building and sharing, not blatant marketing and in-your-face advertising. Done correctly, it can be a powerful way to connect with customers.

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