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How Social Media Advertising Has Evolved

In this Marketing Nerds episode, Boz Boschen of ndp joins Caitlin Rulien to talk about how far social advertising has come over the last several year.

#MarketingNerds: New Social Advertising Opportunities | SEJ

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

In this episode of Marketing Nerds, Boz Boschen, Digital Media Director for ndp, joined me to talk about how far social advertising has come over the last several years. We also chatted about where it’s going, and how those in the advertising sphere are adapting.

#MarketingNerds: New Social Advertising Opportunities | SEJ

Here are a few transcribed excerpts from our discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything!

How Social Media Advertising has Evolved

Within digital media, it’s always interesting to see how consumer habits change over time.

Looking at the pace of change, it always seems like the thing that pops up this weekend becomes popular where it’s completely unexpected. Of course, it’s very hard to look into that crystal ball and see where things will be in five or seven years.

I think where we are today is really the age of platforms, as everyone is saying.

It’s really becoming more about adjusting the ad experience to match that environment in social media. We know that users are spending vast amounts of time on Facebook. Noteworthy in the last week that Facebook weighed in on the ad blocking discussion and has said that they have a point of view on that. Of course, in a very Facebook way, it’s very tech-focused and tech solution rather than the overall philosophy of there’s a value exchange here. In order to get your social media fix, there needs to be some ads to help support it.

It’s been really interesting to see what’s happened. Again, I think where we are is less transactional, more relational.

Distinguishing Good Content

Facebook, as a publicly traded company, looks at it and says “Here’s our short-term goal. We’ve got some things that we need to achieve with our revenue.” Also, measuring that against at what point are we going to turn off users? Do we see their time spent start to drop because we’re forcing more ads into the experience at the detriment of their overall use of Facebook?

I think that they’re looking at all of that and trying to decide what’s the right role with this and those sorts of headlines or what’s getting people to engage. They’re experimenting as well with the ad types and the units that they’re employing. I think that they’re trying to test what’s the right environment in the role of the advertising.

Smartphones being ubiquitous, what’s the right ad experience on mobile? It’s not going to be that kind of display banner from desktops shrunk down into a smaller space. How do we build something that’s immersive and full-screen and engaging and get somebody to raise their hand while they’re looking for that dopamine fix and scrolling through Facebook? Let’s give them a good experience here and let them go further on their own.

I think it’s an interesting way to look at it. We’ve seen success with that for some of our clients and not repurposing creative, but really building something that’s native to the platform.

It even plays into digital video. When you look at digital video and you’re going to run it in the Facebook environment, I think everybody now realizes it’s auto-play, it’s silent, it’s subtitled. What’s the right approach for that? How do we load our branding front end?

Finding the Most Accessible Platform for Your Content

There was Kodak. Now there’s really no longer Kodak, but there’s Instagram.

We’re still interested in photography and photos and sharing things and creating memories and preserving them. I think that’s the overall point that there’s some innate human things that are going to continue. It’s just what is the platform.

It may be fluid and it might be Facebook. It might be a little bit different. It might be something new that’s still in development.

The tricky thing with digital is really overall tracking. That’s a question that comes up from clients all the time is what is the overall spend. What percentage of our budget should be in digital? How do we decide that for social media? Social can be very hard to track and digital as well.

Transformation in Media Usage

I guess in the overall industry trend over the last five years there’s was sort of a race in marketing tech and ad tech to add more tracking, to go deeper and understand these discreet segments and hyper-targeting populations and looking at everything at the most granular level.

Now we’re hearing Procter & Gamble’s pulling back in a sense. Some of this could be a negotiating power as they’re looking at their overall budget with Facebook. I think the point can also be true that as they’re looking at Facebook overall and saying here is two hundred data points against each of these people, how do we then want to divide up our brand spend for direct response?

Everything is infinitely measurable, but is that really the way to invest in the platform and the way to approach the audience in that transactional manner? Whatever happens, we’re still going to be looking at a sales funnel to some degree.

Is Social Media Worth Investing Your Time and Money?

I think it’s really talking to the client about their own goals, their target, understanding within that full target analysis, who are these people, what are their typical media behaviors, weighing social media against everything else that they’re doing in their daily lives and then the budget. How much budget is there and how far can we stretch it?

If we look at those priorities, the audience might be fifty-five and older. They’re primarily broadcast, primetime viewers with a little bit of light online. Maybe they’re checking their bank statements and the weather or Facebook to follow-up with the grandkids, whatever it is. Again, it’s unique to each budget, each brand, each target.

Making Your Brand Constantly Top of Mind

Everybody has been talking about Olympics for the last week since it wrapped [a few weeks ago].

I think NBC is learning some hard lessons about trying to force fit content into the traditional broadcast primetime model and looking at an opportunity that was served up for a multitude of sports where people can go as deep as they want and follow everything as it’s happening.

We do live in that world now where everybody gets breaking updates in their smartphones. If you’ve downloaded the app, you’ve opted in for the notifications; you’re going to see the notifications throughout the day. This broadcast partner has decided that they’re going to repackage the content and air it in primetime. I think there’s a limitation there in what they were expecting to happen with the TV viewership that didn’t really match what they were doing online.

I think that just allowing the user to be free to engage where they want to and on their own terms and to go as deep as they want. What are you going to lose by having them go further in digital? You’re giving them the content they want.

It’s going to trend on social regardless. Don’t fight it. Go with it.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds Podcast with Caitlin Rulien and Boz Boschen:

Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Kelsey Jones on Twitter, or email her at kelsey [at]

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

how-to-leverage-social-media-advertisingImage Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post Photo: tashka2000/

Category SEJ Show
Caitlin Rulien Social Producer

Caitlin is Social Producer for Search Engine Journal and currently a Masters candidate in International Affairs. She can usually be ...

How Social Media Advertising Has Evolved

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