Is social media advertising poised for explosive growth?

One might describe our relationship with social media (and perhaps any internet advertising) as Love/Hate. We love the communication channels and possibilities for creating an endless stream of connections. We hate (or ignore) most of the advertising that we see there. Or do we? The irony is that advertising pays the bills for many of the social media channels that we enjoy, and we are conditioned to accept that we enjoy these for ‘free.’ Do we? Think about this: What is the price we pay for using social media?

With Facebook advertising revenue gaining traction ($2.5 Bn in overall revenue in 1Q14) and leading the way with social advertising, it’s hard to deny that the eyes are there and that the potential has gotten the attention of advertisers. And of regulators. A recent Time story reveals that the social media activity of companies has gotten the attention of FDA regulators that are concerned that social media posts and related activity (‘likes’, ‘shares’, etc.) constitute tacit endorsement of products that are not FDA approved for the purposes being noted. So a case of company social media accounts ‘liking’ customer comments is under review as advertising products as medications.

This opens up interesting questions for social media as a ‘word of mouth’ channel for promotion and endorsement, doesn’t it?

Q1) Social media advertising is maturing. What have we learned about the how, when and what to do?

Q2) Time was, everybody ignored ads, is that changing? What’s changed that is making social ads work?

Q3) Does a brand’s normal social interactions constitute ‘advertising’?

Q4) What social platforms have REALLY added value by providing ‘targeting’ for ads?

Q5) Is #bigdata enough to be successful in social media advertising? What’s the secret ingredient?

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