Why Go Traditional, When You Can Go Social?

While social media is fighting for it’s own place as being a credible and beneficial marketing channel for brands, it still gets pushed to the end of the line when being budgeted for marketing dollars. Some brands understand the power that comes with social media marketing – the ability to measure success, quick adoption rates, reaching new targets, creating an emotional connection with customers and lasting relationships, just to name a few! Some of my favorite social brands include Chevrolet, Old Spice, and Starbucks. They get that the power of audience engagement can go a long way. Personal interactions > mass media broadcasting.

Let’s look at the facts:

1. A traditional print ad is not a direct connection to a web-store or a community full of referrals.

Social media and Web 2.0 features allow brands to sell instantly with the click of a button. From point of visual contact – to guiding them to the BUY button. The process is cut significantly! Not to mention, the fans that are constantly promoting your brand naturally. It is a known fact that buyers trust their peers’ reviews more than a brands when it comes to reliability.

2. A traditional print ad can not be shared instantly.

Let’s take Twitter for example. If a brand tweets about a new product being introduced to a collection and that tweet gets picked up by a follower and re-tweeted to their network – then that message gets delivered instantly and has the ability to reach a new audience that might not be reading the latest issue of Vogue Magazine. A print ad is placed with the intent of reaching a specific demographic. Twitter has the potential of reaching thousands that might not even know about your brand. Talk about awareness!

3. Traditional print ads can not be measured accurately.

You are told that a certain magazine has a circulation of 100,000. Okay, so what does that mean? That means that hopefully your ad will be viewed by 100,000 people, but probably not! It doesn’t mean that you will know what the retention rate is or if someone acted upon it. Now, if an image was placed on a custom tab within your brand’s Facebook page, you would know exactly what the impressions were, where they came from and when, how many times someone clicked on the links to view more, what the exit rate was, how long they stayed on that tab and even if they shared it amongst their network. You can’t get that with a traditional print ad no matter who you place with!

4. You get more bang for your buck with social!

A statistic came out explaining the comparison between running an ad on Facebook for a day vs. paying for a Superbowl commercial spot.

Number of users on Facebook* in the United States: 121 million
Number of US viewers of Superbowl XLIV in the United States: 106.5 million

Facebook Penetration in the United States: 39.75%
Superbowl XLIV Penetration in the United States: 34.75%

Facebook’s penetration for individuals who are online in the United States: 53%
Superbowl XLIV’s Penetration of TV Households in the United States: 45%

Facebook’s Average CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) in United States: $0.20
Superbowl XLIV’s CPM (cost per 1000 viewers) in the United States: $28.16

Facebook’s 2009 Estimated Revenue: $635 million (source)
Superbowl XLIV’s Estimated 2009 Advertising Revenue: $213 million

*All Facebook stats via Facebreakers.com as of 4/28/2010

Not mentioning that when you place a Superbowl ad, you are not able to control who you reach. With Facebook, you can target right down to the state that someone lives in when placing ads.

Now I am not saying to disregard this form of marketing all together. I believe that they need to work together to drive traffic to an ultimate destination and to create awareness. But, the print ad can only deliver one thing to a brand – awareness.