Will 2015 be the year that free social media marketing disappears in favour of paid amplification? Social media expert Chris Bishop, founder of digital media agency 7thingsmedia, believes the writing is on the wall for free social media.
Bishop’s reasoning comes hot on the heels of Snapchat’s recent declaration that it will charge $750k (£494k) for disappearing advertising content on its platform, a move which resulted, he claims, in “mass shock” amongst marketing directors. The fact that Snapchat believes that a six-figure fee is warranted strongly implies that the trials it’s conducted with big brands such as Samsung, MacDonalds and Macys have at least been perceived to drive significant social value to each of them.
The implication is quite a disruptive one: traditionally overlooked by marketing directors, suddenly the social channel looks about to require management by staff who have the same calibre as those managing top drawer advertising such as TV and out of home.
It’s no secret that vast social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, BuzzFeed and Snapchat will be pushing forward with new ways to monetise their huge user base and data pools. Facebook alone has 1.35 billion active monthly users and 74 per cent of internet users are registered with a social media platform. You don’t need to be a mathematical prodigy to work out that that’s a lot of people and data.
With Twitter joining ranks with Facebook and altering it algorithms to show relevant instead of linear content, brands relying on organic reach can expect to see their efforts crippled. As Bishop puts it in his Econsultancy blog post:
“Paid social, therefore becomes the only avenue for a brand to reach its unique audience. Further than this, Facebook re-launched the atlas software originally created by Microsoft. This technology enables cross-platform tracking by overcoming the cookie issue.
With more precise attribution tracking, social media will be able to prove its worth more than ever, the cost for qualified traffic will increase with aggressive CPC, CPM or even CPA models.”
Once the preserve of graduates and interns, social media management is going to require more seasoned hands at the helm and, according to Bishop, it’s going to require more than one person alone. And marketing budgets, he thinks, will need to have paid advancement locked down.
It’s going to be an interesting year.