Advertising Age Magazine saysShops Seek Control in Social-Media Space “Agencies of all stripes want to lay claim, and no one wants to cede control.”
This is an interesting article from two points of view. The first is in terms of “traditional” marketing practices using the new tools of the internet:
In some ways, media agencies are a natural for social media. As people increasingly spend their “media time” on social sites — in some cases at the expense of traditional channels — agencies need to figure out if they can put marketers’ messages in those places. According to Frank Magid Associates, more than 22% of 18- to 24-year-olds say they are watching less TV since they started using social-networking sites.
The social challenge
Yet, thus far, media agencies haven’t shown they can own social media. Most media agency-driven social-media campaigns look a lot more like traditional media with a social twist than they do created-from-scratch communities such as Dell IdeaStorm or social-utility staple Nike Plus. And they tend to be defined in campaign terms rather than the kinds of inside-out transformations of culture and organization that companies such as Zappos have pulled off.
While some social-media pundits will discount media agencies for that reason, there are practical considerations for these agencies’ approach to social media.
The other viewpoint is that the social media (or Social Media) marketspace is by it’s very nature individualized and non-media oriented. It is about people talking to other people. This part of the social media landscape tends to take a harsh view of commercializing what the users see as “their” space. As an example, look at the recent controversy over Chris Brogan’s sponsored post about Kmart (see Advertising and Trust, Twitter search)
The “ownership” of Social Media and the new internet marketspace is going to be hotly contested due to the enormous amount of user-generated content that is impossible to predict. It will be the users that determine the fate of advertising:
Craig Daitch, senior VP at promotions firm Measure2X, has logged time at PHD and Digitas working as a sort of social-media evangelist, and laments the problem. “You can’t append a CPM to it, and you have a hard time putting a profit and loss to it. So the question is: Who pays for it, how do we quantify ROI and how do I convince clients this is a worthy endeavor?”
He said digital shops need to embed a social-media way of thinking with their planning groups. He pointed to one, albeit old, example to illustrate the difference that can make. When Mentos saw the videos of two guys in lab coats dropping its mints into two-liter bottles of Diet Coke and making them erupt in a fizz-filled geyser, it bought ads on YouTube. Coke’s initial reaction: That’s not what you’re supposed to do with Diet Coke.[emphasis mine, ed.]
“You shouldn’t see it — it’s all about conversation,” Mr. Daitch said. “When something pops and people are talking about it, you look for brand involvement.“
Daitch hits the nail on the head – “when something pops” is completely out of the control of the advertisers, the marketers, even the brands themselves. I would submit that the answer to the question “Who owns social media?” is We do.