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When you think of social media marketing, the words and phrases 'personalized', 'one-to-one', 'integrated' and 'user-generated' probably come to mind. But will it still be that way in a few years' time?
Not if a startup called Adaptly has its way.
As detailed by AdAge, Adaptly is a "platform where advertisers and ad agencies can buy a range of social sites -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, StumbleUpon, plus a host of others -- with a single purchase." According to Adaptly's CEO Nikhil Sethi, "Social media is the next level of display."
My what a difference a few years makes. It wasn't too long ago when social media was supposed to be about engagement, and one-to-one marketing. But the number of offerings like Adaptly's are growing, and marketers looking for scale with their social media ad campaigns appear to be interested for obvious reasons.
It is, of course, tough scaling a big-money campaign across a lot of social networking sites.
But if marketers are starting to treat social media like display, what does that say about social media? Have marketers given up on exploiting all of the unique characteristics social media was supposed to bring to the table?
Is interest in Adaptly, and services like it, an implicit admission that the return from more personal social media campaigns simply isn't there? Was much of social media's promise of a different way to reach consumers little more than pie-in-the-sky hype?
The answer to these questions just might be 'yes', at least for some marketers. And that could have a huge impact on the most popular social media sites. After all, if marketers start betting that social media will look more like the market for display ad inventory, companies like Facebook and Twitter will likely oblige them.
It's the smart thing to do business-wise. At the same time, however, nobody should be surprised to see display-like metrics, which few marketers can boast about. Soon, 'banner ad blindness' may have a sibling: 'social media ad blindness.'
At the end of the day, it would appear that as social media matures, some of the unfounded hype is fading, and the reality is starting to set in. Yes, marketers will still invest in Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts and integrated campaigns, but they're also looking to increase their investments in social media through alternative means that follow more traditional marketing approaches which enable bulk media buying. The only question now: how much of the personal, thoughtful, integrated stuff will be around in a couple of years?