Since the very first newspaper was published well over a century ago, publishers have generated their revenue in two ways. The first was through the sale of their publications. The second was through advertising. In short, the publication built up an audience and then charged brands to communicate with that audience. The bigger the audience or the more profiled it was, the higher the rates that could be charged. It was a simple formula; or at least it was until the dawn of the digital era, which completely disrupted space.
In the twenty or so years that have passed since the rise of digital, platforms like Facebook have completely disrupted the market, gaining huge critical mass and grabbing large amounts of the available digital advertising spend. But is Facebook really a good place to use your spending? Here are a few things to consider when planning an online marketing campaign.
Social can be toxic
With the traditional media model, the news, or if you prefer, the conversation, was something that was controlled and set by the publisher. In a sense, you knew what you were going to get. The Wall Street Journal was always going to supply highly credible financial information. The Sun was always going to be salacious, tabloid-type content.
For brands, this was safe as it was known exactly where they were sitting the advertisements and what sort of conversation would go around them. But social media changed all that as the tone and the conversation is not set by a publisher, but rather by the public.
A digital marketing company Brisbane used the phrase ‘the toxic web’ at a presentation recently to explain where things were going with social and why it was perhaps a dangerous place to go with your brand. The reality is that on social anybody can say anything and sometimes that is not a great place for a brand to be exposed to.
Will you be heard over the noise?
There is a lot that happens on Facebook. Birthdays and fake news and friend’s pictures and event invitations. It is like a giant social and content marketplace and there is a lot of noise. While one of the key goals of marketing is to reach an audience, another key goal is to be heard.
And while Facebook definitely delivers on the audience, the jury is out on whether the messages are being heard. Yes, targeted advertising means the right messages are on the right people’s pages, but could they not be more effectively deployed on other platforms? That is one of the big debates now.
Is quality journalism important?
If you think that journalism is important, that it informs, and that it holds people accountable when you need to be aware of what it takes to produce quality publications. Journalists and good content do not come cheap and they need brands to stick with them and to pay for advertising in order for them to be able to continue their work.
At present, with less revenue being spent with publications and more being spent on social platforms, the media is slowly dying. Not everyone thinks this is bad, there is talk about the democratization of the media and such. But if you do see value in quality reporting then recognize that it needs to be paid for.