Posted April 18, 2008 8:15 am by with 14 comments

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Here’s for an original name – SocialMedia Networks – which is a new ad network for – yes, social media sites. People spend a lot of time on social networks and they tend to be younger and quite Internet savvy. However, they are a fickle group who don’t like overt marketing messages.

SocialMedia Networks says they’re the first ad network to focus 100 percent on social media. They have over three billion ad impressions to more than 15 million unique visitors per month. These ad impressions are delivered within 5,000+ applications and they’re appearing on Facebook, Bebo and MySpace.

I asked SocialMedia’s CEO Seth Goldstein a few questions about advertising on social networks with social apps.

1. How is social media advertising different from traditional advertising?

People are interacting with one another in a social network, rather than just reading content and navigating through pages on a destination site or portal. As an advertiser if you’re just throwing up display ads or text link you’re missing the point of advertising in social media.

To be effective you have to figure out how to become part of the conversations people are having *within* the social network, which also includes keeping user where they are comfortable, in the particular network they are interacting within.

2. What unique features do social network sites have that advertisers have capitalized on?

Each network has their own nuances, but functionality that enables sharing with friends is specific to social networks. Marketers are just starting to figure this out by understanding how to create messaging that invokes viral sharing.

Social applications are also unique onto social networks, with over 15, 000 on facebook alone. Apps allow users within a network to interact specifically with their circle of friends, play with each other, sharing content and games with each other, communicating in a variety of fun ways.

These social apps have proliferated on Facebook and Bebo are getting traction within Myspace and Hi5 through the OpenSocial platform. They represent very unique venues for saavy marketers to both advertise within as well as create so users interact with their brands.

4. Can you give some tips for advertisers who want to get into social media?

Do not assume traditional display/text ads will work in social media. Work with a network and/or agency that has experience with advertising in social media. The creative should be adjusted to reflect the specific social network environment. If possible have the user redirected to a social application within the social network’s walled garden, rather than redirecting them to a site outside the network they are used to playing within.

If you are creating a social application to be successful it’s not about the technology. It is about understanding how to design the app so it becomes viral. Once the app is created you’ll need to promote it to create a seed set of users. This allows the app to get traction with an initial set of users so it can be shared to create organic, viral traffic.

  • My answer to “advertising on social media” is to build a social network sponsored by your brand. Obviously, that’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, but it has application in certain situations and many brands are beginning to experiment with the concept.

    Advertising on social media sites like Facebook, Bebo and others is akin to going to a restaurant and asking for a seat at someone else’s table. Maybe they’ll be receptive and maybe they won’t. Conversely, to create your own branded socnet is to invite others to have a seat at your table.

    Perhaps both approaches are necessary. I think it’s still too early in the game to tell which approach will ultimately win out.

  • This will be interesting to see the results…we think that the rates for advertising on social networks should certainly be a little lower due to the challenges that arise with this type of advertising. Afterall, people sign onto these social networks to socialize and NOT to buy for the most part. The users are conditioned to ignore the ads but we’ll see!

  • I feel that ads on social networks don’t do well or at least a community is not receptive to ads especially when they know where on the page NOT to look. At the same time, it is certainly more targeted but having used Facebook ads in the past were a waste of money for me. ~Steve

  • Interesting, thanks. I do think using SNS more to target the Gen Y demographic is key. Stop-Loss was an underdog movie which seems to have tried to leverage it with some success. I wrote about it here : [link removed, click Tom’s name above for link]

    And also interviewed Kimberly Peirce. The director later who herself took an active part in discussing the movie with fans on both Facebook and myspace.


    Tom H. C. Anderson’s last blog post..Laura Ries and Tom H. C. Anderson Discuss Branding, Market Research and Segmentation – Anderson Analytics Round Table Discussion

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  • Let’s face it, Social Media is here to stay and represent a unique way to reach consumers. Very fickle consumers, I must hasten to add, ones that will very quickly reject in your face type stuff.

    See on Social Media Network’s website that they offer applications developers their services to increase their application’s visibility, track its success and generate money.

    This saves them from having to develop these apps themselves, rather relying on developers (who aren’t necessarily marketers)to do the work (and take the risks, of course). They’ve identified a nice niche in the market, and their progress will be keenly watched from this side.

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  • I recommend opening a group on www. facebook. com for example… i sell brazilian oceanfront property. so i set up a group on facebook regarding brazilian expats (expatriates).

    by setting up a group, you can add a bunch of inbound links to your website… and start making a “following”…. letting people see that you are a source of knowledge and help

    once your site starts making you some $$$$ come visit me in Rio De Janeiro, brazil… you can buy a beachfront house from me at and maintain your site from here…

    thanks… and take the tip: set up a group on facebook that pertains to your product…. and fill the group page with links… and start finding clients etc…. through your group

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  • has a great business model and I think they’ll do well for themselves. I do see a lot of people skeptical of jumping into social advertising this early though.

    Utah SEO’s last blog post..Social Media Taught at School

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  • Great article. One of the approaches we use at AdParlor is to combine several techniques. We normally wouldn’t outright recommend a banner campaign on social media sites that points to an external site, but rather – build a fan page or application for the brand and then have the banner campaign link to that fan page or app.

    This has several advantages:
    1 – as the user is staying within facebook, they are more likely to click on the ad
    2 – when the user becomes a fan of the page or adds the app, the brand then has that contact so they can reach out
    3 – we still have the advantage of pushing out the ‘branding’ aspect of the campaign in high volume