The popularity of brand adoption of social network ads and sponsored content is on the rise. Many use it for branding purposes, and in conjunction with other marketing content.

More advertisers using paid social media advertising

Paid social media advertising is a growing part of brands’ ad budgets. Three-quarters of the advertisers that were surveyed in a Vizu-commissioned study use this channel. As the digital marketing and media professionals in the Paid Social Media Advertising report “Industry Update and Best Practices 2013” showed, social media advertising is seen as a cross-platform tactic - more advertisers are using this to augment reach or engagement for their online or offline ad media. The investment in social media continues to grow, and budgets are being shifted from online and offline to pay for this increase. Developed social media ad strategies will rely more and more upon metrics to determine ROI and show effects on sales and brand awareness.

High consumer adoption spurred brand usage of social marketing channels

Marketing interest has only intensified with the climbing rate of social media adoption among consumers. Facebook has 1 million users, amounting to 1 in 7 of the global population, while in the US nearly 4 of 5 Internet users visit social networks and blogs. While a large majority (89 percent) of social marketers use free tools (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), paid tools like Facebook paid ads or sponsored blogs, are very popular (75 percent). For agencies, this trend is reversed: 71 percent use free tools but 81 percent purchase content. Only 6 percent of surveyed advertisers do no social media activity, but the widespread usage is still being established - this is a field in which marketers are determining their practices. Most advertisers and agencies have been using paid social for less than 3 years, and 20 percent only started last year.

Social media ads will continue to grow with the help of better metrics offerings

Social media ad budgets will increase this year, but perhaps not at the rate they did last year. Over half of advertisers (64 percent) plan to invest more in this channel, but the most common increase range is modest - 10 percent or less. Social is commonly used to bolster online or offline ads, so determining ROI is tricky, which could be one reason why budget increases are sluggish. Used primarily for branding purposes, social suffers from a disconnect between the type of metrics that marketers want, and what is currently available to them.

By Alice Gillet
English editorial manager