Jordan Ferguson, managing director, Europe at VideoEgg, a rich media ad network provider for online communities, explains the golden rules to cracking advertising on social networking sites.
The rise in popularity of social networking sites has been fairly sudden and somewhat baffling to many a marketer.
What started out as a platform for university students to keep in touch is now fairly likely to be an open window on your internet browser, stealing yourself for updates on what your friends are up to during your coffee break in the office.
No longer are you safe to go on a night out with your friends if a camera is floating around, because who knows what will turn up online the next day?
This new level of online networking has huge potential for marketers -- if they can get it right, they have access to countless potential customers.
But dropping in adverts suited to more traditional formats, such as direct mail inserts, print media or websites could prove to be a major mistake.
The five golden rules to cracking advertising on social networking sites
1. Visitors to social networks are the creators and curators of content. They will not hesitate to close or navigate away from marketing messages or ads that are intrusive or irrelevant to them. Respect the user and you will earn their respect in turn, resulting in greater success with your campaigns.
2. Invitation-based ticker ads allow users to choose to watch ad content, not force them to engage with a brand they don't want to like pop-ups and banner ads may do.
3. Create entertaining ad content that enhances the experience and involves and captures the interest of the users. The messages and formats must fit the medium -- keep in mind the age group and interests of social networkers and target your messages accordingly.
4. Create ads that allow the user to extend the campaign virally. For example, VideoEgg has a gifting function that allows users to send advertiser-branded gifts as a campaign extension. So, not only are they sending their friends a cool video, but they are also sending an offer for discounted cinema tickets or merchandise related to your brand.
5. Use targeting to show ads to people who are likely to wish to see them. Marketers who target ads and offers based on video content genre - for example, a car ticker ad on auto content - will always achieve stronger results.
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