Role of Social Media in Achieving Advertising Objectives
Ahsan Hameed (Date: 17.05.2015)
In the 21st century, the internet world and communication technologies have experienced a newly revolutionized phenomena, known as “Socialization”, which has given birth to new technologies known as “Social media” (Aikat, 2014). Today, the social media is known as “advertising mantra” due to its effectiveness and contributions for the advertising function of companies (Neti, 2011). According to statistics of 2013, the companies have spent $5.1 billion on social media advertising campaigns that is expected to become more than $14 billion in 2018 (Lepage, 2014). Although these statistics are showing the increasing popularity of social media as a tool of advertising. This rising popularity of social media might be due to the innovativeness of social media, because there is still ambiguity that either the use of social media helps in achieving advertising objectives of the company or not.
The aim of scientific essay is to critically analyse the role of social media, especially Facebook, in achieving advertising objectives. The methodology, adopted for scientific essay is based upon a critical review of secondary literature about the role of social media in achieving advertising objectives. The findings of scientific research are not helpful only for validating the potential role of social media in achieving advertising objectives, but also helpful for companies managers use the social media for achieving their advertising objectives.
Mayfield (2008) has made his contributed to define the social media with its essential features, such as, “social media is best understood as “group of new kinds of online media (web based platforms), which shares most of features including participation, openness, conversation, community and connectedness. There is a misconception that social media is only known as “Facebook” or “Twitter” or any other social media networks. According to Mayfield (2008), the social media are found as in different types including social media networks (Facebook, Myspace), wikis (Wikipedia), podcasts (Apple iTunes), microblogging (Twitter) and even discussion forums.
According to survey results, the 97% of companies are using social media marketing. The 92% companies believe that the social media is really important for their business (Stelzner, 2014). The companies are increasing their brand presence on social media networks, because the rising population of social media networks has stimulated the marketing managers to acquire and connect with their customers on social media networks (Newman, 2011) (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). For instance, the Facebook is biggest social media network with a total population of more than 1 billion registered users and 699 million daily active users (Shewan, 2014). That’s why, the companies have found the opportunity to capture and connect the customers on social media networks.
The admirer of social media considers that the social media has changed the advertising radically (Wasiak, Hank, 2010). According to Neti (2011) for today’s marketers, the social media is “best opportunities available” to marketing managers for connecting and send marketing promotions towards their existing and potential customers such as the global brands use social media marketing in order to power their advertising campaigns. If we talk about theoretical aspect, the traditional theory was based upon four marketing P’s (product, price, place and promotion), while the emergence of social media has increased one more P’s (people), which is important for the marketing success (Wasiak, Hank, 2010).
According to Kottler & Keller (2012) and Suttle (2012) the advertising objectives of a company include; (a) increasing sales and profits, stimulating behaviour towards product trial and usage, reminders and follow ups. The use of social media helps the companies to achieve these advertising objectives (Neti, 2011) (Aikat, 2014) (Wright, Khanfar, Harrington, & Kizer, 2010). For example, the biggest advantage of social media advertising is seen in terms of cost savings. Because in comparison with print media and electronic media advertising, the social media advertising provides the cheapest way advertising, which results are achieving less cost of operations? Further, the social media also provides the Geo-targeted advertising operations (pay per click advertising), which helps the companies to reach their niche market and saving the cost of advertising to irrelevant target customers (Sandilands, 2014). Further, Aikat (2014) enlists some unique features of social media such as, interactive features, animated content, innovative and creative features.
However, the social media has also received criticism from the marketing scholars. Newman (2011) states that it is not only about making a presence on social media networks, because you cannot get the audience unless you strive for exploring new ways of making it more accessible. For this purpose, the marketing managers need to put their expertise such as consumer demographics, consumer behaviour and online marketing efforts. These efforts for enhancing accessibility leads to incur big advertising cost. Although the social media provides the cheapest way of advertising, but still the companies need to spend money for the promotion of their pages such as Facebook advertising, Google AdWords and search engine optimization. This cost factor might not be much more problematic for the big companies, but small companies face many problems in the promotion of their pages due to limited budgets (Shewan, 2014). The critics say that if small companies still has to face the cost problem as compared to big companies, then how social media is beneficial small businesses?.
The use of social media has not only provided benefit of positive word of mouth, but also created a challenge for negative word of mouth, as the social media provide open platform, so the negative news about company goes viral within no time. Similarly, the use of social media also leads to issues of getting unrealistic customer expectations and losing control over corporate contents (Sandilands, 2014), which requires managerial expertise in order reduce the bad impacts of underlying issues. Moreover, Okazaki & Taylor (2013) have stated that social media network capability is having a strong impact on advertising performance of the company, because there are many famous social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Scoopy, interest and many others, which offer different features, so it is an important decision for companies to choose best social media platform.
In concluding the decision, it has been found that the social media is a reality in terms of its role in achieving organizational objectives. The findings of scientific research have shown that the companies are making their presence on social media networks due to unique features of social media as compared to traditional advertising and its positive role in achieving advertising objectives. However, it also leads to face some issues and risks, which require further exploration and research by scholars and marketing experts in order to reap true benefits of social media.
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