As businesses shift their advertising focus from static banner ads to mobile apps and social media, more research is going into finding out how customers respond to these new ad campaigns. While businesses can’t hope to reach their customer bases through traditional marketing alone, they can increase their advertising success by getting to know how customers interact with current platforms.
Social media is a company’s best tool for developing brand recognition with customers. Companies going through a rebranding process can use social media to inform people about upcoming changes and avoid a psychological and emotional backlash from customers who’ve been loyal for years.
Advertising through social media has a dark side, however. Along with the increased customer engagement and intimacy comes the possibility of misusing customer data. People who log into public forums, such as Facebook and Twitter, freely offer their demographic information and preferences when they create and use such accounts.
Fragmentation of social media means uneven advertising
A statistical index is needed to measure customer engagement with social media platforms and the amount of time they spend on each website. Forums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp tend to occupy a customer’s attention to varying degrees and lengths of time.
Research firm BI Intelligence conducted a survey to measure customer engagement with various social media sites and the amount of time spent on each one. According to the survey:
Users spend almost four times as long on Facebook as its closest rival, Instagram
Users are more engaged with Facebook than with other platforms
Twitter attracts the next highest amount of users, followed by Snapchat and then WhatsApp
Users spend more time using social media websites than any other online communication platform, including email or instant messaging
More than half of social media users log into a mobile version of their favorite websites
Newcomers such as Tumblr and Pinterest plan to increase their audience engagement in the coming months. The new focus for social media is reaching users through multiple devices.
Social media outlets spread brand awareness
Recently, the German company Siemens AG rebranded itself as Unify after 165 years of existence. To ensure that loyal customers weren’t upset over the change, Siemens turned to Twitter and Facebook to address their concerns.
The marketing campaign raised average monthly Twitter impressions from 2 million to almost 37 million, and monthly Facebook views jumped from around 100,000 to almost 26 million. Along with all this social media activity came customer data in the form of demographic information and user preferences.
Data from Facebook comes at a cost for companies and users, however. Facebook sells user data to advertisers, and many customers have reacted angrily after learning that information about them and their online behavior has been used in advertising to their online friends and acquaintances.
Facebook’s enduring popularity means it can afford to sell data to advertisers. But companies have to be careful not to offend their customer base.