Drunk with Budgets – Brands Will Waste Money, 2013 Prediction

by | Dec 18, 2012

Social Fresh 2013 Social Media Predictions: 2/10

When I started Ignite Social Media in 2007, our first few budgets were in the neighborhood of $50,000.

People were testing the waters.

Using some of their “fun money” to see if there was anything to this social media marketing.

It wasn’t long before $500,000 annual budgets were becoming common.

Today, many of our clients spend millions on social media marketing, between organic and paid promotions, and it’s not uncommon to know of brands spending 8 figures on social.

You see it all the time.

Where Does That Money Go?

To the outsider, the most visible manifestation currently is when a brand page suddenly goes from a few hundred thousand fans to millions and millions. When you look at the page and there’s nothing particularly interesting about the posts, the tabs, the timeline or social promotions, you know it’s about the ad buys.

Their Facebook rep got to them and convinced them to pay more and more for the ever-changing, vast array of ad products that Facebook now has.

“Get fans on mobile.”

“Promote your story to all your fans.”

“Don’t just worry about the right rail anymore.”

“We’ll put you everywhere, just keep the money coming.”

This is not going to stop in 2013. If anything, it’s going to continue to escalate as an arms race of fan count numbers has already reached the C-Suite.

The arms race in and of itself is not a problem. After all, you need a fan base before you can efficiently activate that fan base. But the ease by which Facebook allows you to acquire fans by throwing money at them has lulled marketers into missing a huge opportunity.

Social Promotions Are The Key

If you want to outperform your competition in 2013, by all means get an ad budget. And when you’re thinking about targeting by age, geography, gender or all the other fields Facebook allows, think equally long about social promotions.

At Ignite Social Media, we rarely run media without running social promotions at the same time. The moment you get a fan, you should begin the process of activating them, for three reasons: EdgeRank, Efficiency and Practice.

1. EdgeRank

As you probably know, Facebook shows content to people based on an algorithm called EdgeRank. Each piece of potential content is filtered by Recency, EdgeWeight and Affinity, even in the new Pages Feed. To the extent you can get new fans to engage with you, you increase your Affinity, thereby improving your organic view rate going forward.

2. Efficiency

When we run ads combined with social promotions, we see a lift in organic fan growth that is 20-45% higher than paid ads alone. It’s simple really. While new fans generate some Ticker updates that “John Doe liked X page,” brands get much more exposure through a social promotion in which John Doe shares some content, for example.

3. Practice

Brands who buy their fans can avoid for another year the hard fact that social media marketing is most efficient when you get your fans excited. And what the brands will learn from running these programs will leave those brands at a significant competitive advantage over “the buyers” who will not have figured out what makes their community tick and how they can activate them without a constant influx of cash.

Stand Out From Your Competitors

So, even if you and your competitor have a $1m ad budget, you can outperform them by 20-40% if you combine your advertising with a successful social program. And this efficiency will continue for a long time to come because you’ll have equipped your fans to market for you.

Most brands won’t do this. That’s my prediction for 2013.

And an opportunity for you.

PSSST…

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