Sponsored photos a growing part of marketers' mobile social toolbox: report
By Kari Jensen
January 3, 2014
In a sign of mobile's growing role in the social media ecosystem, marketers’ use of sponsored photos leapt from 24 percent in 2012 to 33 in 2013, according to a new report.
At the same time, 29 percent of marketers reported using sponsored Pins on Pinterest, which were not measured in IZEA's previous report on influencer marketing. While mobile social marketing is growing gangbusters, influencer marketing is a specific subset that may be more geared toward sponsorships than the big social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
"Social media and native advertising provides an alternative for mobile marketers, which also resonates with the consumer, as the advert is not seen as being ‘intrusive’ like a banner ad might be," said Sian Rowlands, a research analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, Britain. "Social media also provides greater targeting options, given the ‘big data,’ which corporations have on their users’ preferences, relationships, etc.
"Also key to remember is that when a user is on a social media site, they are not only looking to interact with their friends, but also celebrities, politicians, people with similar interests - and brands," she said. "This makes it far more natural for advertising to appear on social media versus, for instance, a mobile game, where the experience of seeing a banner advert is simply disruptive, and the user is may have a negative perception of advertising after seeing the ad."
Ms. Rowlands commented on the growth in mobile social marketing in general.
IZEA did not respond to a request for comment by the deadline.
Social media sponsorships, including incentivized content sponsorship, increasingly trumps display ads for influencers, according to the report.
About 56 percent of influencers surveyed make more money from sponsorships than online ads.
IZEA's annual "State of Sponsored Social" report looked at mobile and desktop social media sponsorship and online display advertising. The data was compiled from more than 10,000 brand marketers, social media consultants and key social influencers.
Pursuing social sponsorships is of increased importance to marketers, especially as brands and companies are becoming more open to such sponsorships.
Content sponsorship exposes brands and companies to an ever-growing base of consumers via social media.
The IZEA report found that 30 percent of marketers said display advertising was either dead or dying.
Sixty percent of companies surveyed had a stand-alone social media budget.
About 61 percent of marketers said they had offered incentives, such as cash, trips, offers for gift cards, free product, coupons and discounts, to social media influencers with the expectation of being mentioned on their sites.
Thirty percent of marketers designated they were becoming increasingly weary of display advertising, while 60 percent said they were turning instead to social sponsorship.
"It’s a well-known fact that although banner ads are widely used, they are wholly ineffective on mobile," Ms. Rowlands said. "One of the key reasons they are deployed is because they were successful on desktop, however as the mobile industry matures, we’re seeing more and more evidence of the differences between mobile and desktop."
Sponsored tweets are the most popular form of social influence, according to 52 percent of respondents.
The IZEA report found that sponsored blog posts trended down year over year, from 54 percent in 2012 to 51 percent in 2013.
About 42 percent of marketers responded that quality of content is the "most important measurement of success," 36.5 percent designated shares to be the most important, while 35.2 percent selected click through rates.
As 2014 proceeds, reports such as this serve as an indicator as to what direction the market space may be moving.
"[In some circumstances] native advertising can translate into a better performing, more lucrative advertising campaign for brands, when compared with traditional banner advertising," Ms. Rowlands said.
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York
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