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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?

Patricio Robles

Published 15 April, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2419 more posts from this author

Comments (5)



I just had a play on their website, and the most amazing feature is that you can dress a person with various outfits "Dressing Room" feature. I think that's really clever, and definitely extremely engaging. You can even change the face of the person you dress with H&M's clothes.

BUT... they do NOT have a search bar....?? Bizzare. Also, their filtered navigation is a bit fiddly for my liking.

Overall, it's a vast improvement, certainly a lot more enjoyable to use. And in fact, i like the fact that they have tried something new; that they experimenting and innovating.

over 5 years ago



With CTR of circa 0.01% "social media ad blindness" already exists doesn't it?

over 5 years ago

Charlotte Britton

Charlotte Britton, Managing Director at Optimum Exposure

Surely with product placements already in Tweets from celebrities, then this is another form of display?

over 5 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing


Did you mean to add this comment to the H&M blog post?


over 5 years ago


Colin Mercer, Social Media Manager at Bright Digital

There will always be a place for well thought-out, creative and engaging campaigns in social media. If the number of brands using tools like Adaptly to hit mass audiences increases, any creative campaigns will become more valuable.

over 5 years ago

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