How has the way we receive and consume data changed over the last few years? It’s pretty shocking to look back and see at which points in time our data-viewing culture has changed. It’s also hard to believe that the internet used to run on a phone line, was very disorganized and didn’t have any real structure to it.
In 1994, Yahoo’s founders started their own directory of sites to make it easier for users to explore and find specific items of interest on the internet. In 1997, Google was created and their sole purpose was to catalog sites and make the web less confusing for users. It wasn’t until 1999, though, that the first version of an RSS feed (now referred to as a news feed or quite simply, the feed) began to take shape. In 2006, Twitter launched and Facebook introduced their newest feature: news feed.
In 2010, Twitter unveiled “sponsored tweets,” which incorporated advertising into the feeds of users’ in real-time. Facebook quickly followed suit in 2011 with “sponsored stories” in users’ news feeds.
What does this mean for advertisers? With companies like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, whose platforms are entirely feed-based, it provides direct-line exposure to their target audience. Depending on the demographic you’re trying to reach, each type of social media application has its own advertisement delivery system and type of majority user. For example, Pinterest, a photo-sharing site that allows users to create their own boards with pins of photos and ideas, is ideal for reaching a predominantly female audience. According to Mashable, a study shows that ? of women in the U.S. use this site. Twitter boasts a 53% female user base and Facebook isn’t far ahead with 53.3% of women using their platform. When creating an advertising campaign, it will work to your benefit to determine your target audience and then choose a social media platform.
With an average Facebook user’s news feed having the capability to show 1,500 stories at a time, this will mean the organic reach will dip. Facebook itself has admitted this and is using it to prod marketers to “pay to play” in order to reach their target audiences as well as claiming a 93% success rate for Facebook advertising overall and 77% for promoted posts. In regard to promoted tweets on Twitter, a study finds that users exposed to paid tweets associate a 22% stronger message association than organic tweets. Additionally, Twitter users exposed to an ad campaign two or three times report at 10% lift in favorability over those that are viewed once.
2013 was a record-making year with in-feed advertising, and this was recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as a new standard of “native” advertising formats. 2014 is sure to be another record-breaking and innovative year in regard to in-feed advertising.