Statistics and think pieces aside, one fact becomes clearer by the hour: The world’s largest social media platforms will play an increasingly larger role in the digital marketing equation moving forward. As Joe McCaffrey, head of social media at Brooklyn-based agency Huge, put it, “Not a day goes by that I’m not writing or seeing something new” in the social space.
The question remains: Which platforms will lead the pack, and how can agencies navigate a landscape that threatens their core business model?
Some see a silver lining in the growing influence of social networks. McCaffrey said, “There’s lots of mutual respect between agency and platform partner. We’re all trying to bring good ideas to the table.”
Tony Effik, vp of media and communications at digital-first agency R/GA, told Adweek that Facebook in particular has demonstrated “continuous improvement” in serving its advertising partners. He said, “If you spend enough, they will give you privileged information” drawn from endless pools of user data, adding, “There’s still a whole world of creativity in social media that we haven’t yet tapped into. … We’re just playing along the edges.”
Others aren't as optimistic. BlitzMetrics chief technology officer Dennis Yu told Adweek, “Agencies can’t keep up. Facebook plays nice with them, but they still for the most part have a Mad Men-style, interrupt-your-experience mentality.” Yu believes this approach will continue to grow less relevant as consumers’ expectations change and social platforms demand a higher percentage of each client’s marketing spend.
Here are snapshots of the four leading networks and their newest ad offerings: