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Of Facebook Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In case you missed it, the biggest news coming out of Facebook is that it will no longer be supporting sponsored stories. Yes, according to the announcement, the social network is streamlining its advertising resources in order to provide a better experience to both the user and the advertiser.

When social media first hit the scene, the biggest question big brands and investors had about it was sustainability. If social networks and other media had this systemic aversion to advertising, but yet offered the service for free to consumers, how could it possibly last?

Of course, it couldn't. Advertising entered the scene.

These technologists then began to fumble around the world of digital connectivity and advertising. How can one provide a seamless user experience while providing non-intrusive — yet satisfying — advertising models? Not an easy balance. That was made clear with how Twitter and Facebook notably struggled to get a hold on making advertising dollars work for everyone.

Now it looks like the social networks we know and love are hitting their stride. But as for AdLand, a group that too is new to the social media advertising space, how do marketers view their performance?

Not as well as you'd think.

Social Media Examiner released its 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report in late May, and the findings were very interesting. The one finding most relevant to this post is that although an impressive 92 percent of marketers surveyed use Facebook as a part of their marketing activity, only 37 percent of them believe that their advertising is effective.

Yes, two out of three marketers believe they are basically throwing their advertising dollars away. 

There are many factors that could explain why this number is so low. Could be lack of experience with social networks, lack of time or budget needed to dedicate people or a team to it, or just a lack of — as our source article put it — knowledge of social media "ROI" tools.

However, two out of three marketers wouldn't say that TV doesn't work and continue to do it. There is something here that spells trouble for mass social media advertising.

This brings us back to our thought about niche social networks. Just like the time when marketers left mass marketing tactics for "traditional" advertising and started to target niches, the same is bound to happen in the social media world. There are much smaller networks with even more dedicated and active populations.

Perhaps this study shows the need to finally start tapping those resources.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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