An introduction to social media advertising

Social media promotions don't come free anymore.

Social media promotions don’t come free anymore. A recent study by Ogilvy & Mather found that brand posts on Facebook reached just 6% of followers in February, down from 12% in October. The declining reach comes as Facebook, like its competitors, pushes more brands to pay to advertise on its platform. But with options ranging from promoted tweets to million-dollar Facebook videos, where does a marketer start?

Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google shared the ins and outs of social media advertising during a panel at Global Strategy Group’s New York office last week. Here’s what marketers can expect from each platform:

Google: Brands that advertise on Google can "tell their message to the entire Internet," says Jason Rosenbaum, head of the Democratic side of Google’s elections and issue advocacy team. He’s got a point: the tech behemoth not only operates the world’s most popular search engine, it also owns YouTube, the second-largest search engine. But Rosenbaum was vague about how much it costs to reach Google’s vast audience – marketers must spend a minimum of $1 a day, but some clients spend "$15,000 an hour," he said.

Rosenbaum declined to name specific advertising features on the horizon, but he said Google will focus on integrating digital with media programs, such as with a media buying tool.

Facebook: Facebook is where you go to reach "real people," because "you can’t be someone you’re not" on the channel, said client partner Kaiya Waddell. The company also tries to make promoted posts "look less like ads" so as not to offend users, she explained. Most promoted posts are self-service to make the process easier for brands.

Facebook will launch a number of video ads in coming weeks, but for most advertisers, the cost for a video will be about $1 million per day, The Wall Street Journal reported. Besides videos, the site will unveil an ad unit that will take up 100% of the right-hand side, Waddell said. These days, Facebook is primarily focused on users’ mobile experience, which means they can expect to see more ads in the news feed.

Twitter: As the new "global town square," Twitter is notable in its ability to allow marketers to join conversations and find out public opinion in real time, said Jenna Golden, who works in political and advocacy sales at the company. In that vein, Twitter will roll out features that allow advertisers to target promoted posts to users while they’re watching and tweeting about TV shows.

Last week, Twitter and Amazon said they have teamed up to let users add items to their Amazon cart from Twitter. The next step, said Golden, is allowing consumers to buy products directly from a tweet, but that feature is still in the works.

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