Elsewere, the IAB’s six monthly study of online ad spend found 1 in 7 minutes online is spent on social networks. As a result, money spent on social networks grew 53 per cent in the six months to 30 June.
Direct marketers are increasingly turning to social media as use and options increase. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al present direct marketers with a fantastic opportunity to reach people where they are online – on social networks.
The sheer volume of information uploaded, shared and offered is a potential goldmine for a discipline that is based on data-driven insights. Direct marketers using email, or mail have to work really hard to simply obtain a means to reach people, never mind anything approaching a meaningful and personalised communication.
However, as the advice offered to Peter Parker goes: “With great power comes great responsibility”, or something. The point I am clumsily making in my desire to shoehorn in a pop culture reference is direct marketers giddy with the possibilities should know relatively immature media is also populated by relatively immature users willing to share data with each other but not with advertisers.
A recent report backs this up. According to Aimia, social media comes second bottom in a list of people and institutions consumers are comfortable handling their personal data.
Financial services and employees – because of high levels of data security, the report suggests – rank highest with a score of 8.2 and 6.9 out of ten respectively. Social networks scored 2.6.
The finding is not conclusive but it does lay bare an issue that needs addressing. Social networks are fantastic channels to engage and sell but reaching maturity also means transparency and communication of data sharing intentions need to move at the same pace as commercial shifts. Otherwise, consumers will resist the overtures of brands before social’s potential worth is realised.