Social spotlight: making the most of digital advertising

Social spotlight: making the most of digital advertising

The average person sees more than 5,000 adverts every day – that is up from 500 per day in the 1970s. This stark increase is largely due to the development of digital advertising – the ads you see when you browse websites, scroll through social media or stream videos online.

As digital advertising has evolved, it has become smarter. Web users are now exposed to ads tailored exclusively for them. When you come across an advert on social media it is likely to be a brand or product you have shown interest in online, even if it was on a completely different platform. This is achieved via ‘cookies’ that track users’ online habits, interests, and personal details, and enable websites to advertise products that are (supposedly) more relevant to each individual.


Social media takeover

Social media is now paving the way in digital advertising, making up a third of all digital ad spending according to Hootsuite’s 2022 Digital Advertising report. In fact, the report found the annual spend on social media advertising surpassed 150 billion USD, and this is expected to grow year-on-year.

When you consider the scale of social media use, these numbers are not surprising: there will be 3.96 billion active social media users this year and 4.41 billion users by 2025. Although a single advert will never be able to reach every user, social media ads have the potential to reach audiences of enormous sizes. For example, YouTube ads can reach 2.56 billion users while ads on TikTok – a more novel social platform – can reach around 880 million users.


Breaking through the noise

A key element of successful advertising campaigns is creating content that is relatable. People are thirty-times more likely to try a brand if they predict it will deliver strong emotional, identity, social, or functional benefits. There is no use in advertising women’s activewear to middle aged men.

Companies need to know who they want to target, in which regions, on what platforms, and with what content. These metrics will constantly be changing and evolving. Hootsuite suggests that companies looking to enhance their digital advertising performance in 2022 should explore social media platforms outside of the most-used social channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) such as TikTok and Snapchat.

A report from GlobalWebIndex found that most people on TikTok (who are largely either Gen Z or Millennials) use the platform to watch funny videos. For this reason, consumer technology companies could benefit from making TikTok ads entertaining rather than serious and target younger audiences rather than older.


If you cannot beat them, join them

If companies are looking to increase their digital advertising spend but are not exploring the opportunities offered by social media advertising, they risk missing out on an enormous share of reach. If companies want to increase brand awareness and reach targeted and specific audiences that they would not otherwise be able to, they should utilise the tools that are right in front of them.


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