2010: Social Network Advertising and Marketing Outlook

In July 2009, experts predicted that advertising on Facebook would surpass MySpace by 2011. What represents a tectonic shift in social media spend is now anticipated in twenty-ten (2010).

A new report published by eMarketer, “Social Network Ad Spending: 2010 Outlook” documents the major shifts in social network advertising spending that emerged in 2009 and will ultimately unfold in 2010.

eMarketer observes that Facebook is becoming the premier destination for marketers in the U.S. as well as many worldwide markets. At 350 million users, its momentum appears unstoppable.

In 2009, marketers funneled an estimated $2.2 billion to advertise on social networks worldwide, with $1.2 billion spent in the U.S. In 2010, Facebook will account for nearly 25% of all social network ad spending worldwide, up 20% over 2009. 2010 also represents the year that Facebook officially surpasses MySpace in ad revenues. eMarketer predicts that Facebook will earn $605 million versus $385 on MySpace.

The shift represents a significant loss to MySpace, dropping 23% in U.S. ad revenue in just one year while Facebook jumps 34% in the U.S. and 65% worldwide.

“As more marketers incorporate social networks in their business, they will no longer look at them as siloed destinations. Instead, they will look to increase the impact of their social network presence by linking it to other marketing initiatives, both online and offline,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report.

eMarketer predicts that U.S. online social network ad spending will increase 3.9% over 2009 and will grow 7.1% in 2010 and 7.7% in 2011. As social media becomes ubiquitous in marketing over the next year, I anticipate 2011 numbers to increase significantly.

These increases come at a time when total U.S. online ad spending is falling and thus represent a greater share of online spend.

Advertising, however, represents only one facet of an overall integrated marketing program. Engagement is something funded by “sweat equity,” dedication, and a genuine desire to help someone do something they couldn’t do before they met or heard from you.

According to Williamson, “When companies budget for social media marketing in 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of their expenses will go toward creating and maintaining a fan page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the impact of a social network presence on brand health and sales.”

As eMarketer documents, 2010 will be the year that social network advertising intersects with other forms of social marketing, including earned media. Earned media is just that, it’s earned. It is the result of strategic community cultivation and the investment of time, resources, and expertise in a network of passionate brand beacons and empowered advocates.  While earned media is usually advertising-free, otherwise it’s then referred to as sponsored conversations (paid, not earned), budgets still must cover time, energy, and the people who lead community-focused programs across multiple social networks.

Sponsored conversations are also expected to rise in 2010. Josh Bernoff at Forrester Research wrote a thoughtful post in March 2009 that offered guidance on how businesses can introduce paid media into the overall social mix.

Together, earned and paid media are far more effective when the programs are humanized. The difference between social network advertising and marketing and traditional online campaigns are the ecosystems where engagement is fostered. Social networks are “social” and therefore respect and empathy are the minimum antes necessary to potentially earn attention, a precious commodity in Social Media. Without a genuine intent to offer value, trust is elusive.  It’s the difference between shouting “at” people and speaking “with” someone.

Before you’re a marketer or advertiser, you’re a consumer. Bring that perspective to the marketing table…

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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