As we see our clients continue to pour advertising dollars into the social arena, it’s clear social media is no fad. You can’t deny the numbers.
Social networking juggernaut Facebook more than doubled its ad revenue in 2011 and it is expected to hit one billion users early this year. But in this ever-evolving industry, numbers are only half the story. Facebook is pushing to increase user engagement. This move reveals an emerging trend—through engagement on a personal level, advertisers and marketers will turn to social media to enrich the consumer experience and ultimately drive buying decisions.
What gives this trend major potential for a significant return on investment for advertisers is its effortless ability to interweave into the mobile realm. Smartphones keep us constantly connected to the internet and make social media more accessible through mobile apps; some apps like Foursquare and Instagram are even driven by mobile.
It’s not farfetched to say we always have our phones on us—I dare to say we’d even feel naked without them. A study from WSL/Strategic Retail reports about 50 percent of all smartphone owners use their device while shopping, and an increasing number are downloading shopping-related apps. Thirty-five percent of those apps are used to receive in-store alerts on deals and sales. Given this trend, advertisers, and the brands we work for, need to embrace the real-time marketing opportunities social media and mobile offer to reach consumers.
Take me for example. I’m a 22 year-old social networking junky. Facebook, Foursqaure, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. I’m on them all, and most of the time access them from my phone. Over the holiday season I stopped by Macy’s and, being the Foursquare addict that I am, I checked in. Once I did, I saw I had unlocked an in-store deal—15 percent off any item. I’m a sucker for a deal, and I’d be lying if I said it—even if only for 15 percent—didn’t sway my buying decision.
I’m not alone either; an increasing-number of shoppers are turning to social media in search for rewards before—even while—shopping. The WSL/Strategic Retail study also claimed the amount of members of social networking sites searching for discounts or coupons increased 31 percent during 2011, while those looking to sign up for member-only benefits climbed 50 percent. This is a big contrast to the mere 14 percent of social networking site members who search for product information and reviews.
But how does this emerging trend translate into the DOOH arena? Well, marketers using out-of-home media need to be savvy by reaching consumers across channels and integrating those platforms. At Monster Media we provide clients an opportunity to reach consumers in an unconventional way. We just wrapped up (holiday pun intended) a campaign for MEOW by Katy Perry on a Monster POD that also included a take-home element in the form of an email. Shoppers at The Grove in Los Angeles took their picture at our Monster POD and were able to email themselves a custom holiday keepsake. At the end of our week-long campaign, we collected more than 1,700 user emails.
We’re also able to take full advantage of social media’s reach by incorporating avenues like Facebook and Twitter into our interactive campaigns. Speaking to the increasing mobile savviness of consumers, we’ve even integrated QR codes into creative executions. By the end of the four-week campaign for EA’s Cut the Rope this past year, users activated QR-code selections more than 11,000 times.
At Monster Media we’re always thinking of ways consumers can continue to interact with the brands we work with even after they’ve left our interactive systems. Tying in mobile and social media elements allows our clients to engage consumers even after they’ve left the out-of-home space.
Sources: Social Media Today, Adweek, Screenmedia Daily, Social Media Examiner
– Gustavo Marrero