Social media has come a long way in a short time

A poll by the Direct Marketing Association has crowned Facebook as the most “marketing friendly” social media channel.

Russell Parsons

Marketers rated Facebook top in three out of five categories – campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis.  It was beaten into second place when marketers were asked to judge its brand building and awareness driving capabilities by Twitter and by Linkedin when it comes to the effectiveness of its user targeting tools.

Overall, Linkedin was second and Twitter third.

So, what can we conclude from this? Mainly, and rather prosaically, the main take-way should be that its relative maturity as a media channel means Facebook has stolen a march on other social media channels.

It has been at it longer, has addressed some of marketers’ accountability concerns, begun offering a wider variety of advertising solutions and is making a decent stab at monetising mobile – as evidenced by recent stellar revenue returns.

What the DMA ‘scorecard’ also underlines is how far social media has come as a media channel. It doesn’t seem too long ago that social was being dismissed as useless for anything but engagement, where brands nervously sat wondering whether they should be there at all and if they were whether they should be so intrusive as to try and sell something.

Now, we are ranking social networks from the starting point that they are all have something to offer to direct marketers. It is now a legitimate and often effective direct marketing tool.

It should not, however, be considered at the expense of other direct marketing channels. In the strain to use the new, it should not be relied upon to offer the silver bullet. Facebook might be the most ‘marketer friendly’ social media channel but depending on the objectives and aims of a campaign it might not be the most appropriate, particularly in isolation.

An integrated mix is always the best policy.

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