But what's also clear from the chart in the media player is that it's important for marketers to look beyond a Facebook-only approach. As audience attention continues to fragment across multiple touchpoints, diversifying a brand's social presence will ensure coverage, new reach and sustainable ongoing results—without the risk of having all of one's eggs in one basket.
3. We're (Un)blurring the Line Between Ads and Content
Whenever an emerging media matures, there is a natural leveling out of best practices, and some clearer definitions are made so all stakeholders can monetize. For example, there are some terrific TV ads, but they're never confused with a primetime show. Similarly in online video, ads and content reporting are kept separate. Yet, in social media the line between ads and content has been intensely blurry to-date.
In TV, there is a clear delineation between commercial breaks and the "main event," even though those spots make the programming possible. Infomercials, product placement and sponsored content walk the line. And right now in social media, we're similarly having to think about where we draw the line between ads and content.
Brands have gotten smarter about creating and posting content that drives quality activity and interactions with their communities, and this is further reinforced by the increase in engaged audiences.
While it is still unclear exactly what constitutes "promotional," the message is clear: If your organic Facebook post reads more like a 30-second spot, then it's an ad and won't be allowed to be classified as content.
The more interesting question, and one that we will continue to closely monitor in partnership with the industry, is exactly where that line is drawn—both from the consumer perspective, as well as in terms of social marketing best practices. Open questions to be monitored in the future include the impact of tune-in messaging, "soft-sell" messaging, product placement, presence of logos in image, etc.—but for now, these are beyond the scope of the definition of "promotional."