The Debate on Social Media Advertising

A recent AdAge article cites a survey from Advertiser Perceptions reporting that 59 percent of people involved in deciding how ad dollars are spent digitally would increase social media spending in the next 12 months.

Only 4 percent of those surveyed said they would decrease spending on social media platforms. The survey also found that, on average, social media advertising will make up about 27 percent of digital budgets throughout the next year, compared with 22 percent in the previous 12 months. According to those surveyed, no other digital category—including ad networks/exchanges, media companies, demand-side platforms, portals and agency-trading desk—expected to see a ramp up in adverting-dollar allotment in the coming year.

“Determining whether one should allocate advertising dollars toward social media is one of the hardest decisions for a business to make, as there isn’t a hardline metric to determine ROI,” says Jeffrey Arnold, who runs social media campaigns for Focus Business Management and its clients.

Jewelers Arnold has talked to regularly question whether spending on social media advertising makes sense. “Some jewelers have difficulty in quantifying the results,” he says. “However, these same jewelers have no problem with spending double or triple the monthly amount on a billboard—which has the same difficult-to-measure-the-results issue. The only difference is that the billboard gives them a big ego boost when they see their shining faces 20 feet tall.”

An article published by the National Retail Federation cites experts who think retailers should “forego ROI metrics” because “investments in social media will yield deeper customer relationships.” The statistic from that piece that jumped out at both Arnold and me was that 40 percent of retailers list the top benefit of Facebook as “brand building” and 37 percent as “listening to customers.”

“I believe that is the way the independent jeweler needs to approach their social media initiative—engagement instead of as a direct driver of ROI,” says Arnold. “They need to post a variety of human interest stories—for example, cute engagement videos, jewelry related facts and trivia, local events, etc.—that keep their fans interested in reading their posts.”

Arnold believes jewelers should be conscious of their overall social media presence, and not devote all their attention to Facebook. “Yelp, Google Places, CitySearch, and InsiderPages are great places to start,” he says. “The NRF article had a statistic that 34 percent of customers looked at online ratings and reviews before making a purchasing decision. This is one of the driving factors of whether they shop at your store or the one down the street.”

So what do you think? Should jewelers be devoting ad dollars to social media advertising? And if so, how much of their budget should they dedicate to it?

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