The most recent study by Adobe Dig­i­tal Index makes it clear that mar­keters who didn’t adver­tise on social net­works dur­ing the 2013 hol­i­day sea­son missed out on high qual­ity traf­fic and click through rates from social ads. That said, it’s imper­a­tive to ana­lyze and opti­mize each cam­paign to deter­mine which ad-purchasing method is the most efficient.

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index data reports that click-through-rates (CTR) for Face­book paid adver­tis­ing, for instance, were up 365% year-over-year (YOY). As pre­dicted in Adobe’s Q3 2013 social report, mar­keters CPC rates increased dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, as well, up 29% quarter-over-quarter. CPM rates also increased, up 51% quarter-over-quarter.

Ad CPC

Over­all, there con­tin­ues to be upside for uti­liz­ing social media for two rea­sons. First, it has a large audi­ence for a rel­a­tively low cost. Sec­ond, most mar­keters haven’t even begun to exper­i­ment or opti­mize social paid adver­tis­ing yet, so there remains a good deal of potential.

Adobe Dig­i­tal Index ana­lyzed 240 bil­lion ad impres­sions, over 1.5 bil­lion Face­book posts, and more than 500 mil­lion vis­its referred from social sites, includ­ing Twit­ter and Face­book, in the quar­terly social intel­li­gence report on paid, earned, and owned social media.

Twit­ter Was A Win­ter Wonderland

Although the vol­ume of traf­fic from social net­works was flat dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, the qual­ity of the traf­fic improved dra­mat­i­cally. Twit­ter showed the largest quarter-over-quarter rev­enue per visit (RPV) growth, up 84%.

Face­book still refers the high­est RPV and was up 31% quarter-over-quarter, but Tum­blr had the high­est year-over-year RPV growth, up four times that of last year—and it put up a good fight with Face­book for the top social-referred rev­enue site. Although small in com­par­i­son to Face­book, this site showed that it belongs in the con­ver­sa­tion for deserv­ing some mar­ket­ing spend. Mar­keters will want to cap­i­tal­ize on Tumblr’s high qual­ity traf­fic by includ­ing more and higher qual­ity images and videos in their brand pages and test­ing new mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties which Tum­blr is likely to release in 2014.

social_rpv_yoy

Pin­ter­est, which we pre­dicted would over­take Face­book in RPV in 2014, did so, but only in the United King­dom. Look for Pin­ter­est to com­pete with Face­book for top RPV refer­rer in 2014. Retail mar­keters in par­tic­u­lar will likely con­tinue to keep an eye on the mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties within this site, espe­cially with paid pro­moted pins becom­ing avail­able some time in 2014.

Social RPV UK

Although social media con­tin­ues to grow, Face­book is begin­ning to see com­pe­ti­tion and is start­ing to lose share to other net­works. Twit­ter, up 125% year-over-year, and Pin­ter­est, up 89% year-over-year, and offer viable mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties this year.

Share of social visits

Social Media in 2014?

Over­all, 2014 will see con­tin­ued growth in social ad rev­enue, as more mar­keters jump in and social media net­works add paid media capac­ity and capa­bil­i­ties. Mar­keters face a real chal­lenge bal­anc­ing between paid media pro­grams across dis­play, search, and social to deliver opti­mal results. Mar­keters must also deter­mine whether CPM or CPC is the right way to go for them.

Social media net­works are pick­ing up steam and have their eyes on cap­tur­ing a greater pro­por­tion of search dollars. The real race will not be between social media net­works, but between marketer’s allo­ca­tion of dol­lars across search, dis­play, and social. With the increase in ads, social media risks alien­at­ing users while it courts marketers. With social net­works con­tin­u­ing to inte­grate more geo– and interest-targeting capa­bil­i­ties, look for click-through-rates to con­tinue to grow. We’re sure to see some mis­steps along the way, but the social media audi­ence size is suf­fi­ciently com­pelling that that, by 2015, we expect to see a good bal­ance between con­tent and adver­tis­ing, and tar­get­ing and pri­vacy, that mar­keters and users, alike, can all live with.

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