Social networking sites and advertising

I delivered a presentation last week in Auckland to clients of an advertising agency we partner with. Some of what we talked about was how businesses could use social networking sites to promote their brand.

We don’t know of any New Zealand businesses doing this but it’s commonplace in the USA. The way we could see it working is if a business has a character that is identified as part of their brand – for example Goldstein and ASB, or that big guy on Mega Mitre 10, or Rabogirl and RaboPlus – then these characters can set themselves up a MySpace or Facebook page.

The reach of this sort of targeting is immense and all it takes on the part of the business is time.

150,000 people a day are signing up to Facebook. MySpace has 200 million registered profiles, and 100 million unique visitors per month. These are global figures but you only need to extrapolate the figures for a New Zealand market to see that they are substantial.

Think about the benefits from having a business profile on a site like Facebook or MySpace – people will want to make and be friends with your ‘character’ – you can push product directly to them via blog posts and links within. You can let them download posters, or screensavers, or wallpaper. Users will feel like they have a relationship with your business, through your character.

As well as encouraging the relationship through your character you can push product or services to them as well.

Because the user often reveals a lot about themselves through their profile, advertising on the site can be more targeted to them. For example, for users living in New Zealand, ad content would be kept New Zealand centric, unless it was product (music for example) that could be bought from wherever in the world you lived.

At MySpace users of similar passions and interests were ‘captured’ and dumped into buckets of 3 million. Now they are in the process of breaking that 3 million into thousands of smaller buckets – in the process advertising becomes much more focussed and targeted.

If you’re feeling a bit depressed that your profile on your favourite social networking site is being used in such a way then there are two things you could try:

  • invent a totally imaginary character with interests totally opposite to what you actually like – that way you won’t be tempted to click on any of the advertising that gets associated with your profile
  • cancel your registration to Facebook, My Space, Bebo, YouTube, IYomu – start writing letters and posting them to your friends, or better still, phone them and have a conversation. Hell, even TXT them before you phone them to make sure they’re home.

Don’t forget, you might create the content, but it’s the advertisers who want to use your profile – to sell to.

6 thoughts on “Social networking sites and advertising”

  1. Interesting concept. Any ideas regarding the marketing of music and how you see the future for that industry?

  2. Well, we have all heard about the unknowns who get discovered on You Tube or Bebo pages. The secret for budding artists is to put your music on your page and get as many of your ‘friends’ linking to it as possible. This may create a groundswell of support, and soon people you don’t know will be linking to you – suddenly you might have a career.

    One thing you need before all of this of course is some good music.

  3. You can’t get paid until someone asks to buy your CD…then you’ll need to set up a PayPal account and start depositing your millions…

  4. Seems a good idea..tailored ads
    I do not see advertising as evil and rather like being bombarded with ads for stuff I might like to buy
    On the other hand if I don’t think I need it I just ignore it ie I read while the ads run on TV and never even look at full page advertising in the papers

  5. The trouble is TV advertising is marketing to the masses, and with the price of a 30 sec spot in primetime over $15000, you’d need to spend in excess of 2-300,000 to get your message across. Beyond the small business owner now so niche & target marketing where it’s at. It’s just getting to that market that’s the challenge.

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