Social Media Has No Place in Advertising. Honestly.

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I was going through my Flipboard app on my iPad and found an article from my twitter feed about Google+ as an extension in Adword ads. I was reading the article and it says you can activate social extensions on these ads. First of all ads are ads, they are a direct response advertorial. The image below you will see Google+ buttons on these ads when you are logged into Google.

Honestly, I can only see this working as an influential factor and not an action to be taken prior to a click. Also, this becomes a factor for us marketers we have to consider. Instead of a direct click the end user may click on the button rather than the ad? It is a distraction!

I wanted to see how others felt about this and so I posted the article to my twitter and Facebook page. It looks like some people share my same thoughts as well.

I do not understand why some people think social media plays a role in advertising, it doesn’t. Direct response is not social media. Just from my statement and from Gene’s response – Ads are Ads. Why would you click like, retweet, or even google+ and advertorial? There is even a company which thinks the end user will actually save these ads to their portfolio for later viewing, AdKeeper – really?

The purpose of marketing or advertising is to get the end user to click and take an action whether if they are buying an item or filling out a form. I can not see a person Google+’ing an Adwords ad. What is the point, really? Is Google trying to replicate Facebook Ad Likes?

From another view, it can show user influence. If the site has received prior social shares, then it may help but adding it directly to an ad proves useless in my opinion. Also the audience of Google+ users isn’t huge. For Google to incorporate such action is just trying to compete with Facebook social likes.

Social Media as a whole is not meant to be for a direct response industry such as affiliate marketing. It is meant for just branding and social interaction. Why would a person decide to like an ad? We have already tolerated banners so much they are blind to us, hence banner blindness. So the purpose of a social button being added on a banner or any type of paid media doesn’t really make sense.

To advertisers, by setting up social buttons on your ads, it just will create a new barrier or a new deterrent to the end user. Your goal is to get the person viewing your ad to click and then to convert. Not to share an ad. Does that even sound right? Facebook has done a good job with their platform because it is within their services. More and more users are utilizing Facebook pages to create landing pages, a community but not a direct response campaign. Two different things.

I will agree that social media is good for influence and viral traffic. Incorporating it with ads, definitely does not work. Again would you like an ad? retweet an email submit page? or Google+ a male enhancement product? Probably not. Marketers that think social media should be use in all aspects, I believe do not know marketing in general. They are just going by the trend and what is becoming popular.

The internet is becoming more social but it does not change how direct advertising works. A direct response campaign is just that, allowing the end user to take an immediate action and not share a new lost weight pill they have found so interesting.

What are your thoughts on social media and direct ad campaigns? Even the addition of adding Google+ to Adwords?


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  • Paul B

    Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more with basically every point you made.

    If the people click an ad and are satisfied with the service, they may very well reciprocate by liking the ad they clicked. Then, when someone the person is friends with on G+ sees the ad and also sees that their friend +1’d it, the ad will seem more reputable and trustworthy, and they will be more likely to click it. It will probably also attract more attention, as they will likely notice their friend’s name on the SERPS page.

    I’m willing to put money down that an ad in the SERPS that says “so and so +1’d this” will increase CTRs on that ad.

    Furthermore, while G+ may not have as big of a user base as Facebook, it’s still a substantial user base. By incorporating parts of G+ into the SERPS, it will likely help them grow even more.

    Finally, I don’t understand how you cannot see the benefits to AdKeeper. If I’m on a website and see an ad that interests me, but I don’t want to leave the website now because I’m preoccupied, it only makes sense to save the ad so I can check it later. It’s the same concept of bookmarking websites that interest you, except it’s slightly easier, since you don’t even have to click on the ad to save the URL.

    The only thing I agree with is your sentiment that social media is an overhyped craze. I couldn’t agree more with that.

  • The online world is just mimicking what happens off line. In pre-internet days, when you like an ad and their product you chat about it. Online, you either tweet, like or + the ad.

  • I can see the points that Ian Fernando and Paul B want to raise about advertising and social media. But for me the end line is we are now in a level playing field, i.e., we play with the same set of rules. We’re confronted by the age of new developments in what we’ve known as information superhighway and integrating all internet/online tools we can use– we don’t have the power  to stop this. What we can only do is to determine what are the tactics applicable to us. And definitely what we can sustain. If  Google+ on Adwords will not work for our advertising strategy, then go out of it. If we think that social media complement our goals, then try it well. That’s it. Thank you for this post Mr. Fernando– you let people become more critical  in their advertising strategy.

  • my point is that ads are ads they are meant to get attention, bring the user to a site, buy or create a lead gen. if the site has social buttons I am all for that, as I put social buttons even on my single landing pages. the fact that ads are incorporating social directly into a campaign is absurd in my opinion. 

    I agree if a social button has a social number it will increase CTR, no doubt. but that social influence should come from a website already having social buttons on them and the end user interacting with the site. similar to how google serps work.

    NOT the end user saying HEY this ad is cool let me G+ this ad and never go to the site. Plus it is an extra variable in advertising, how can we tell a person + an ad but never went to the site. then more importantly measure the effectiveness of a +

    I would rather have a user click an ad then I start the social traffic from that landing page.as for adkeeper… why would I save an ad? the purpose of an advertorial is to stop what you are doing and move to the next site to take action. it is about taking advantage of a users attention span, emotions, their end goal, etc.

  • I agree if one method does not work then move on to a new source. but social media I think plays a mid role or a brand role. never directly into advertising. social is community while I think advertising is a direct response of something.

    np glad you enjoyed the post.

  • question is did you talk about an ad or about the product. I bet it was the product and not the type of billboard in the city you seen it in.

  • Wasn’t sure if I was going to agree with this article when I saw the headline, but after reading it I understand what you’re saying.  I think the choice to click through an ad is so individualized that social media will have little impact on a consumer’s decision.  Either you want to continue further or you don’t.  Seeing some profile pictures beneath the ad isn’t going to change that.  

    It was suggested in the article you sited that the social inclusion would add credibility, but I feel like most smart online users need more than a +1 or a Like to convince them to proceed.  

  • Ian, you’ve hit the nail on the head so to speak. Which technical guys thought this up that were not advertisers , that’s what i want to know.