Major Ad Firms Will Struggle In Social Media

A recent WSJ article titled Social Media Draws a Crowd addressed the surge in social media advertising dollars and how traditional ad agencies are racing to get a piece of the action.

The push to form a more formidable presence in social-media advertising is being fueled by the increasing number of marketers who are eager to figure out how they can use sites such as Facebook Inc., which has almost 500 million users, and Twitter, with more than 120 million registered users, as a marketing weapon.

"Social media is now part of all our clients' plans; we can't not be in this space," says Matt Seiler, chief executive of Universal McCann.

Ad spending on social networks world-wide is expected to rise 14% this year to $2.5 billion, according to research firm eMarketer. Although social media represents only a fraction of the $55 billion online-ad market, it is one of the fastest-growing segments.

Some corporations have taken a hands-on role in crafting their efforts: PepsiCo Inc.'s Gatorade, for example, recently created its "Mission Control Center," which is set up like a broadcast-television control room and is charged with monitoring the sports drink around the clock across social-media networks.

Marketing is changing quickly but large firms will unlikely be very proficient at addressing the opportunity of new media. Its too decentralized and fluid. As I pointed out in a previous post titled, "The Days of Mass Everything Are Over":

In his book, "The Chaos Scenario", Bob Garfield, writer for Advertising Age magazine and co-host of NPR’s On the Media program, forecasts the disintegration of mass media and advertising structures that have dominated commerce for hundreds of years. Garfield astutely warns that all formerly top-down institutions cannot dictate to consumers with advertising through mass media as before, but must retool, restructure and reengineer their business models enbracing new digital tools and forging better relationships with customers—no longer seeing people as eyeballs or votes, but as REAL stakeholders in their enterprise.

Watch the video. Its really good.

The Chaos Scenario from Greg Stielstra on Vimeo.