When it comes to buying display advertising on sites that your potential customers use or spend time on, social influence marketing plays an important role. Display advertising is about identifying websites which your target customers regularly visit, buying ad space on those sites, and then measuring how much those ads are viewed and clicked upon. You need to know which sites your customers visit, where they’re most likely to engage with an advertisement, whether the site charges the appropriate amount for the advertisement, and how much that advertising affects purchasing is not always easy. But the display advertising space is important even in an economic downturn.
The reason is simple: It’s one of the most measurable forms of advertising, especially in relation to print and television, along with search engine advertising. You can track who views the advertisement, what they do with it, and in some cases, whether they eventually buy the product based on that advertisement. It’s no surprise that the relationship to social influence marketing is an important one as a result. This relationship with social influence marketing takes various forms. Here are some of those connection points:
- Market to the social influencers who surround the customer, as well as the customer. One of the ways in which you market to those influencers is using display advertising. So rather than just placing advertisements on Web sites that your customers visit, you place some advertisements (doesn’t have to be a large percentage of your budget) on Web sites that their social influencers frequent, too. Is this as measurable as those advertisements targeting your customers directly? Maybe not, because these influencers are less likely to click the ads and make a purchase. But nevertheless, they remember the brand and they influence your customers.
- Place display advertising on the social platforms — like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube — that your customers frequent. Most social platforms accept display advertising in some form, and this serves as an important part of their revenue model. Granted, display advertising on social platforms generally produces bad results (users don’t notice the advertisements, and they don’t click them) but the ad formats for social platforms are still evolving.
- Use interactive, social advertising. Think about this scenario for moment: You visit a major Web site like CNN.com and see a large advertisement on the right side. The advertisement asks you a question, and you’re invited to respond to that question from within the ad unit. What’s more, you can see other responses to the question within the ad unit. That’s an example of the ad unit becoming a platform for a social conversation. There aren’t too many examples of social ads online, but you are starting to see more companies experiment in this space.