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Social Media Ad Buy Standards Released

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has released a new set of standards for social media ad buying. eConsultancy reports that the announcement was made at the IAB Social Media Conference in New York (makes sense). The standards are being introduced to at least create a baseline to consider when trying to determine how, when, why, where and for what reason to buy social media advertising.

Seems that everyone wants to get involved in social media and can talk a great game about how ‘valuable’ it is but the reality is that actually knowing what to measure and how to measure whatever it is is often a question that is unanswered. As a result there is trepidation by many with regard to getting involved in social media advertising. With the IAB getting in the game like they did in 1996 by creating general online advertising standards the hope is that more will feel comfortable making the move to social media opportunities.

The article states

This is important in the social media space, where so many people are still unsure of what they want from social media campaigns and what their campaigns are capable of there. However, it is still unclear if the large social media networks will adhere to the standards.

The standardization of ad units and the ability to purchase large scale campaigns will encourage more brands to step their toe in the water of social media advertising.

Therein lies the rub. Will the standards even be used by the biggest players in the space? If they are not then will this cause more confusion than clarity? Seems that confusion is more rampant these days.

Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB, says that the problem online is never measurability. It’s that you can measure too many things.

“Anything you want online is directly measurable. But are you applying the right metrics? Working in the traditional media and marketing world, that answer is very simple. Social media is very easy to measure. But first you need to figure out your objective.”

These standards are really designed to help with scalability of social media efforts but interestingly enough that is often not the goal of social media programs. As with any effort at standardization there will need to be buy in by those who are most influential like Facebook. There are no guarantees they will get involved (they currently do not adhere to the standards) and unless there is buy in at that level the point may be moot for the near term.

Is standardization critical for getting more money to flow to social media? That remains to be seen since most of these efforts are not designed to be huge anyway. If it creates comfort for those who have had concerns about jumping into the medium then that could be great. Trouble is if they want to jump in and their target (i.e. Facebook) doesn’t play along with the standards are prospective advertisers any better off than before the standards appeared?