There’s been much talk, especially among newspaper executives, about whether social media is worth the effort. Many decry its inefficiency as a revenue stream, primarily because users don’t visit a social site with an intent to buy. In fact, one prominent newspaper, a social media pioneer, told AIM that its social sites might have to go because they don’t make money. (See an upcoming CIR for all the details.)
Yet, ComScore has just reported that 20 percent of all online advertising impressions come from social networks. The problem, it would seem, is not so much in the social network idea itself, but rather in the particular social media products, their owners, and their method of growing their social business.
Our first recommendation is that publishers and broadcasters take a long hard look at those who are succeeding with social media and online advertising on their social sites and emulate the best practices they find within. Top performers, in order of rank, are MySpace, Facebook, Tagged.com, MocoSpace.com, Hi5.com, Bebo, Classmates.com, BlackPlanet.com, GaiaOnline.com, and DeviantArt.com.
Another important piece of information is the companies who are advertising on social. Again, in order of rank, the top advertisers are AT&T, Experian Interactive, Ask Network, Sprint Nextel, Pangea Media, Microsoft, Apollo Group, Zynga.com, GameVance.com, and Verizon.
UPDATE: AIM’s Classified Intelligence Report has offered a number of tips and best practices on social media and its monetization. One of the most notable was the lengthy glimpse we gave you into the phenomen of “moms” sites, and this most engaged of online audiences. See CIR 9.22, November 20, 2008. In that same issue is the early notice of what is fast becoming a common model – mixing social with recruitment. Last year’s CIR discussion about Jobvite’s social recruitment platform has been followed by a look at several others doing the same. Creating a local social product in these two niches might well be your most important social move.