Hamlet’s Dilemma: the New Social Media
By Buff Parham
In a slow growth/no growth ad spending environment, we have seen more and more social media companies attempting to divert ad dollars from “legacy” media including television and radio. Of late, Facebook for example, has all but declared a holy war against network television. So it’s game on as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and now Instagram challenge the ad spending status quo.
We all love a good fight, but a telling question remains. Social media sites built their popularity in large part because they were ad free. More importantly, users of these sites feel that they control the content, that they decided what and when they choose to consume along with their constant opportunity to create and share content of their own making. Legacy media is all about “push” messages. That’s a nice term for bombardment. Watch this ad whether you like it or not, and in many cases, whether or not it’s even targeted at you. No wonder that the recall factor for television ads has plummeted in recent years as viewers have learned to either tune out or use their DVR’s to skip commercial messages.
Ad agencies and their clients are painfully aware of the woes facing the incumbent players. They hate the clutter of TV, and the decline in circulation and time spent with newspapers and magazines. The appetite for trying “new media” alternatives is whet more by what’s happened to the legacy players as opposed to the promises of the new kids on the block. This is not a secret to anyone on either side of the media fence. Everyone is in scramble mode. “Disruption” is the word of the day in media and agency conference rooms around the world.
So how tough can life be if you’re a new media player? Like it or not, you’re wrestling with the prospect of killing the golden goose (aka your loyal users) if you start flooding your pages with various genres of advertising messages. This is super critical since the core followers of these companies skew young–that translates to a lack of patience and a cynical eye towards anyone who’s pitching them. Instagram says that it will “move slowly” in placing ads on its site. Open recognition of the dilemma at hand.
New media’s saving grace is the plethora of performance metrics unlike anything found in television for example. It’s good news and bad news, that gives advertisers immediate and in depth stats on all sorts of aspects of a sites user base. Size still matters, but so do a wealth of other factors. On its face, the metrics advantage is obviously gold for the new media players–if they can find a way to hang on to their users and sell them stuff at the same time.
On the eve of the Twitter IPO, investors will be wrestling with this key question in order to estimate the fair value of the company. This writer is betting that Wall Street will take the conservative route, and challenge Twitter and its brethren to prove that being cool and being profitable are both possible over the long term.
About the Author:
Digital Media Training is excited to announce the addition of Buff Parham, a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
About Molly DePasquale
Molly DePasquale is the Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.