As advertisers race to the Internet to secure more “integrated strategies” for their clients, we are going to see more innovative use of the Social Networks as a whole. This usage requires an understanding of the platform as a communication channel with many different channels. I would consider the communication channel made of many different silos like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube,etc. In addition these silos have been opened up and exhibit cross-over features like the layering of “information clouds” one over the other. This function of the social networking communication channel is extremely valuable to consumers, advertisers, marketers and PR. Each cloud of information contributes to the greater tapestry to define the communication channel as a whole.
Thus,we are seeing an overlap inside the communication channel that is also going to challenge traditional firms of the three basic groups to either work together more often, envelope services of each or create new services within their respective agencies. This “gray area” is what is so important. Agencies are involved with the online evolution or they are going to deteriorate into extinction.
At my agency, we want to evolve our approach and adapt to the online market place of social network so this communication channel can reach more of the consumers and cost less money. Implicit to any online strategy is the use of analytic measurement too. So our industry is evolving again inside the communication channel of choice for our consumers and will deliver anew metric of Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). This metric will become the norm.
The industry will be forced to recreate itself and redefine all sales models so that clients will understand how best to quantify the cost of the medium. We should see the new definition include “Brand Engagement” rather than “Impressions” because banners are not serving the same purpose as they once could. The macrocosm of the online world has pushed banners into a secondary position like TV has done to Radio. Banners will always be there, but Brand Engagement will be a future measurement of the Social Networking Channel. So we expect to see the next big brand campaign to include Social Networking as a complete strategy.
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