Social Media Future Focus 2016 – The increase in Paid Social Media


“This growth for the industry is a huge opportunity to reach interested people however as our audience newsfeeds get more and more cluttered with advertising, do we risk our audience turning off completely and looking elsewhere to keep in touch with friends?”

We recently asked the IAB Social Media Council to comment on their future predictions for Social Media trends in 2016. We received extensive and valuable feedback from many of the leading Social Media experts in Ireland.  This blog post is part of the Social Media Future Focus 2016 series.

The increase in paid Social Media 

Dervla McGivern, Media Account Manager at ICAN

The growth of paid social media is phenomenal nearly every brand is asking to be on some social channel and reach their audience at the cheapest cost possible. This growth for the industry is a huge opportunity to reach interested people however as our audience newsfeeds get more and more cluttered with advertising, do we risk our audience turning off completely and looking elsewhere to keep in touch with friends?

It is no longer just about Facebook and Twitter but also looking to new platforms were people are now logging into in their droves including Dating app Tinder, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, periscope and messaging platform WhatsApp amongst a lot of others. Each of these channels are developing monetisation strategies to entice brands but we shouldn’t be dazzled by the allure of these new social platforms without determining what value they can actually add to their brand, audience and overall strategy.

A key challenge in 2016 to the growing spend in social media is influencer outreach which I feel will become an increasing focus in 2016. Amplification of content through key influencers presents a credible challenge to paid promotion strategies, but it’s essential that the influencer is in line with the brand and the way it wants to present itself to its audience. This will allow brands to act more authentically to their audience it will also stop the daily new feed real estate battle

Michael Corcoran, Senior Social Media & Content Manager, eightytwenty

michael corcoran

Display is dead, a line used by Michael Brenner CEO, of Newscred which I’m aligned toward and why I would encourage brands to consider a move toward social paid. Speaking about social paid media from a pure advertising point of view, with lower cost and higher click through rates not to mention the targeting capabilities it means the right people see you. You can’t engage with a display ad, you can with paid social media and the list goes on.

What they see is key, content is king and all that jazz. To make paid media a success, a balance of commercial and brand, plus its application is key.

For example, if you identify a value added piece of content that a segment of your audience has been searching for or talking about on social, paid will enable you to be the brand that provides value to the correct audience with the aim of engagement or a click though if it leads to a blog. Retargeting can then be the opportunity put your commercial offering in front of someone you know who has engaged with your brand.

It’s higher up the funnel but provides a balance of brand and commercial paid media without the hard sell. The big bad ad-blocking wolf is creeping up so how this will evolve with be interesting.

Matt Mooney, Human Experience Strategist at Radicalmatt mooney

It’s important to identify that social media is the only medium where this increase in the in cost and value in media is questioned. What if in one year an extra 200,000 Irish people decide I’m going with Sky because I need Sky Atlantic and my Game of Thrones fix. Do you think Sky wouldn’t start charging more for advertising on that channel? There is still that underlying opinion that ‘social media was once free’ (It wasn’t) and ‘now it costs me money to reach people’ (you mean like every other digital media channel that offers value? I would see paid as the best opportunity for any brand to provide real business results. The degree to which we can behaviourally target on Facebook (and now Instagram), Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn is insane! If I want to target early tech adoptors who play GAA who are considering travelling I can do that!

My advice is like the advice I give startups about media in general. ‘Bite the bullet’, stop griping and start working. Invest in social paid formats but have a strong media strategy behind it. Spend time building targeting, optimising, learning and measuring. I’ll leave you with one thought, is the increase cost of social is bothering you it’s probably because you have not worked hard enough at understanding the value of various actions to your business. If you understand this you can make an educated decision on the investment vs. the return.  Read Matt Mooney’s full post here >>

Read more of the Social Media Future Focus 2016 series here, including posts on Video & Live Broadcasting, Customer Service, Advertising on Instagram & more!