When the internet joined other forms of traditional media as a legitimate forum for consumer communications, advertising agencies quickly jumped on the opportunity to capitalize on the new platform. Available in the average household for more than a decade, the worldwide web quickly surpassed radio as the next-best alternative to delivering messages via television. Now at its prime, the internet has successfully bridged company-to-consumer relationships by overcoming the single greatest challenge that hindered the effectiveness of traditional media during its reign: two-way communication.
Understanding Social Media Advertising
Despite millions of dollars invested in “social” advertising tactics – such as event hosting, telemarketing, and point-of-purchase displays – traditional advertising could only execute communication in one direction. Agencies were successful in feeding ideas and information to target demographics, but were at a loss for effective means of collecting feedback or gauging retention. Product sales could not be a direct indicator of a campaign’s success since a customer’s desire to purchase an item could depend simply on it being cheaper than the competitors.
The rise of the internet as a primary tool for communication gave way to a more accurate data collection. Through the use of social media marketing, product makers were able to see firsthand how consumers perceived their brand and received their marketing strategies. It quickly became clear that the internet was not just another space for advertising; it was an entirely new dimension that would make or break their ability to manage a brand.
The Shift in the Business
Today’s customers want to be as educated as possible. With the acceptance of the internet as the most current source of information, consumers’ trust shifted away from product manufacturers and turned towards the so-called industry experts who gained their reputation as thought leaders by publishing unpaid – and therefore unbiased – reviews of just about every product and service on the shelves.
With a sizable following, today’s blogger is one of the most effective tools in catching audience attention and encouraging a specific purchase. Consequently, one negative opinion about a product can change consumer perception immediately. As soon as brand owners realized their customers trusted information on the internet more than the content on their own packaging, they began to engage in online reputation management.
Completing a Campaign
As the internet breaks out of the home p.c. barrier and becomes portable through mobile data, advertisers are faced with the constant challenge – and continuing opportunity – to earn and maintain a positive image in consumers’ minds. To do this, they complement their traditional media tactics with simultaneous social media campaigns. This way, the target audience still sees the ads through the selected mediums while also being able to react and respond on the social networking platform, thus giving advertisers a real-time gauge of the effectiveness of the campaign and the current perception of the brand. Should any negative reactions arise, it can be addressed immediately and directly – an intimacy with customers that traditional media would be unable to provide without the aid of online platforms.