MySpace has left the building. Facebook is king, at least in terms of total number of U.S. visitors. Market research company eMarketer reported that this increasing Facebook use will soon catapult the popular social networking site past MySpace for total online advertising sales, as businesses vie for paid spots on the social site with the most traffic. So before your company engages in its next social marketing campaign or devotes more money to online advertising, consider the following report from eMarketer.
Despite the popularity of Internet social media today, online advertising on social sites is proving its not immune to the effects of an economic recession. In fact, ad spending for social networks declined through July 2009 and is expected to decrease by a total of three percent to $1.1 billion by year’s end. Among the major social sites suffering from ad pullout is MySpace, yet ad sales for Facebook have increased, edging the latter ever closer to the ad revenue leader. Marketing experts predict that MySpace will struggle this year with a 15-percent loss to $495 million in ad revenue, plus a 7-percent slip to 43 percent in the social networking ad market. MySpace certainly has felt the effects of ad loss by cutting approximately 30 percent of its employee base. Meanwhile, Facebook could gain as many as 2.3 percentage points of the online ad market share. Facebook officials have publicly disclosed their belief that the popular social site will exceed 70 percent in total revenue and $500 million in sales generation for 2009, but these figures differed from eMarketer’s study.
Looking forward, Facebook would seem to have bright days ahead. Analysts predict that as the recession moves toward recovery over the next couple years, marketers will host bigger advertising budgets, companies will make social media a priority within those budgets and advertising will rebound. While Facebook may not make sense for every marketing campaign, more marketers are apt to consider dedicating extra ad dollars to the popular social site.
This draw to Facebook is a complete turnaround in online advertising methodology. In the past, most advertisers avoided paying for spots on Facebook based on the perception that users did not respond well to social marketing ads. Why the low response? Users are too preoccupied with communicating online to really notice the ads. So companies are beginning to change their approach by looking at Facebook’s other opportunities as nonintrusive, informal ways to connect. Proving that they’re branching out, marketers are creating easy-to-maintain Facebook fan pages with exclusive offers to lure visitors and increase traffic to their websites. While fan pages don’t create revenue for Facebook, they offer advertisers another avenue to reach consumers and increase brand awareness. The more positive interactions a company has with Facebook, the more likely it is to continue investing in social media advertising.