Advertising in Social Media Age

Advertising in Social Media Age

Cartoon by Tom
Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it“- Stephen Leacock
Advertising makes it’s way
Advertising and Money are twins for business. One acts as the input and the other as the output. Evolution and effects of Advertising if traced can go back  to the Egyptian era where the medium was a wall and over a period the medium went on to become a part of Marconi’s radio. With time the medium was polished by Baird’s television and now is featuring the Internet as a medium. From Walls to Yellow Pages to Social Media sites, Advertising has been and is a vital source of revenue generation. It is business though a social one.

Social Media & Advertising
“Every thing is Digital, if not will be” - Karl Gomes.
This line comes from the mouth of digital ad man. Nevertheless this mantra has been followed by the Advertisers for last couple of years. Gone are the days when a user would shout/call his friends to tell them his story. He/She loves to do it the social way i.e. modern,fast and with maximum reach. People wake up and sleep on social media sites. So with the change of consumer bases, advertisers have shifted their camps. Google pioneered the show and is one of the maximum revenue generators followed by others. The money involved is huge, the reach is effective but does the advertiser consider the consumer. No doubt it’s a walk that every social media company today wants to walk and we will walk to discuss it further and see how the consumer is being valued in the advertising revenue generating stream.

Google leads the way
Google as a search company revolutionized the idea of online advertising for the Social Media business world.AdWords and AdSense went on to become two advertising arms for revenue generation. AdWords one of the main service that helps advertisers to display their ad in a “Sponsored Links” area that depends on the search keywords. One of the reasons why advertisement remains a jackpot for Google since it is the leader in the search engine sector and the ads are triggered depending on the search results.

Facebook & Sponsored Stories
Facebook with 500 million active users is also trying the same route with “Sponsored Stories”. Facebook is trying to catch the “Likes” and “Checkin’s” that are displayed in user feeds, normally hidden.
Lets assume that “Geeta” has a ladies parlour named as “Look Good” in her town and now she wants to grow her business exposure on Facebook -
    • Geeta pays for all the check ins related to “Look Good” by people on Facebook
    • She will get a Sponsored Story Slot on the right hand side of the FB page
    • When Glen checks in “Look Good”, Facebook will display the sponsored story to all his friends


This whole episode will lead to viral effect of Look Good among Glen’s friends leading to more likes and conversations in Glen’s community. This is one of the new avenues for Facebook for collecting dollars other than targeted advertising.

Twitter & Promoted Tweets

With 50 million tweets per day,Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets” is allowing business to insert themselves in the Twitter stream. It is giving a way for business to stand out and be visible to users. Lets take up an example and see how it works :


  • Amit loves pizzas and so he wants to search what people are talking about pizza on Twitter
  • The search returns a huge feed all related to Pizza with “Pizza Hut-Promote Tweet” leading at the top
  • Twitter places Pizza Hut Promoted Tweet on the top to make it stand out of the crowd so that Amit can view relevant tweets surrounding pizza and can also view the Pizza Hut Promoted Tweet.
It’s a way where Twitter is providing the user the exact information in the clutter that may lead to more brand likeness and business for those who had opted for Promoted Tweets.
Advertising & Consumer Gain
Whatever we want to name it - Sponsored Stories/Sponsored Links/Promoted Tweets, each one out there is leveraging their trusted network but are they respecting the underlined 3 key points.
    • Relevant: How relevant is the ad is shown to the user?
    • Discretion: Does the user have a say whether he wants to view an ad?
    • Organized: Is the ad organized as per the user choice?


Key User Factors

    • Google stands out in all the three factors as the methodology of it’s advertising depends upon the search keywords. Depending upon the user’s search ads pop up. Ads do take a proper place and the user has a discretion on what he wants to see
    • Twitter is evolving in the advertising revenue generating arena. Promoted Tweets do have a relevance as they pop up in the stream depending upon user search. A small badge organized around the corner of your page is cool but user discretion is a concern.
    • Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” relies on users social network but Discretion and Relevance are the two points of concern that will decide the fate of “Sponsored Stories” . As a user I need an option to decide whether I want my “Like” to be displayed as an ad to my friends. Also is such an ad relevant to my friends.


Advertising on social networks is tricky business unlike other mediums and brands that respect the consumers will effectively leverage their humongous network. Is a user being valued in the wheel of money making between Advertisers and Advertising platform providers?