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Almost 50% of brand marketers will target social networking sites this year, a new report by JupiterResearch says.

The group predicts that adoption of social marketing tactics will increasingly see brands competing for attention on sites like Myspace and Bebo.

It says 48% of brand marketers will deploy marketing on social networking channels, compared to 38% last year.

The figures contrast with reports that many firms have yet to create their own profiles on social networking sites, amid concerns over the moderation of content and the potential PR risks.

However, Emily Riley, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report, told ClickZ:

"I think that many advertisers, even those with fear, understand that if they're not there it's worse than getting negative feedback.

"It's more important to be there with some risk than not be there at all. Your competitor will surely be there."

She added it was important to get the right people onside:

“Thirty percent of frequent social networkers trust their peers’ opinions when making a major purchase decision, but only 10% trust advertisements.

"Consequently, brand marketers must harness brand advocates and influentials by providing additional motivation for frequent networkers to engage in social marketing.”


Published 13 March, 2007 by Richard Maven

529 more posts from this author

Comments (5)


Lucy Cooper, Chief Marketing Officer at The foundry

Will Social Networks and Vertical Search combine to challenge Google?

Publishers and advertising agencies have a very difficult challenge ahead as traditional “horizontal” media like newspapers, TV channels and magazines see their traditional demographics and advertising revenue streams fragmented by the increasing preference of consumers for online access and the huge presence of Google eroding their audiences and potential future revenues.

Perhaps they should remember the words of Sun Tsu, who once said: “When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead.”

Google’s major strength - the clean search box and the ease of use, commoditised ad revenues, perhaps masks its principal weakness. As media content and advertising revenues fragment to serve thousands and thousands of “vertical” online communities based on lifestyle or profession, Google may suddenly seem standardised, commoditised and lacking a sense of unique community. Is Google becoming Wal-Mart, while vertical communities may prefer Harrods?

Whilst “horizontal” media companies are similar to supermarkets, specialist professional “vertical” publishers are very specific in serving niche communities with totally relevant content and requirements. However, the publisher’s principal operating difficulty in becoming adaptive to this asymmetric Web 2.0 opportunity is that most tend to run each of their print, exhibition and online titles/businesses as separate profit and loss items on their balance sheet. As a by-product the vast majority tend not to have a centralised IT infrastructure or the human IT skill sets to manage a large scale data centre or web spidering facility - the prerequisites needed to datamine and aggregate open source, user generated and blog content to create vertical slices of the Web that are relevant for their audiences. Publishers will also need to integrate this content into the online extensions of their print brands and thereby allowing advertisers the opportunity to target high value communities. In addition, the datamining, crawling and hosting to identify relevant open source content will also need to be a continual process due to the continual growth of user generated and open source content.

Convera have two very large data centres, an extensive web spidering capability and a web index. Convera are now partnering with a significant number of specialist B2B publishers to create a range of vertical websites for specific professional communities. The first example of this is Searchmedica.com with UBM.

In building the deep vertical search portals, the key is to reach into the specific professional community in a number of ways. First, you can combined the trade publisher’s knowledge and contacts in the profession with community appeals that engage the specific audience in a way that general search cannot, and also by taking special care to use the taxonomies common to the targeted profession in organizing search results so that the user feels more at home and among peers. Building a good vertical engine can be costly and time consuming, and getting a critical mass of users to de-Google their search habits into more specialized engines is potentially a tough sell. However, in tests with focus groups from different professional communities to test these vertical search properties against Google, the results are hugely encouraging.

In building the beta test sites, the specialist publishers are providing Convera with “white lists” of data sources online and websites that would be most relevant to its readers so that the searches are restricted to reliable and trusted information. Publishers are also securing agreements with owners of key proprietary content not normally crawled by Google by leveraging some of its contacts and resources so that Convera can crawl and deliver some of their proprietary content.

Another key consideration is getting the user community engaged in the process as co-developers. No matter how bad the results at Google or Yahoo may be for a given professional segment, the interface is familiar and the destination is always at hand. Getting users to think of a specialized brand as the go-to place for business information is the challenge.

A number of publishers are actively assessing the potential of adding social networking to the mix in order to get professionals interacting with each other and adding weekly podcasts by industry experts on issues affecting the community - these additional services will create more community loyalty and also additional advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

The publishers can also use their print titles to drive the audience to the new online areas and this will also assist the transition of their high value print ad revenues to online. Publishers also have exhibitions, seminars, events and email newsletters to assist this transition - and recent research suggests that professional communities will actively attend seminars and events to meet peers and other members
of their community. The theory goes that once you get some professionals involved then the viral mechanism or behavioural “Hive Mind” also kicks in and professional workers start referring to the vertical portal as a community source. It is also allows advertisers and public relations organisations access to a clearly defined, affluent, influential and stable audience.

Google may have more employees than the NSA with a Phd, but it does not allow you to have a beer with a potential business partner - it doesn’t have that sense of community. But Google is fighting back - the recent launch of Google Custom Search and acquisition of teenage social network sites indicates they are aware of their weakness - but specialist publishers see this as a Trojan Horse. Social networks for teenagers are highly transient and target a demographic that is volatile, unpredictable and has a low level of disposable income - whereas a social network alongside a vertical search service for 22,000 bio-chemists, 55,000 UK GP’s, 55,000 insurance risk assessors or 120,000 US psychiatrists is stable, affluent and attractive for advertisers.

over 9 years ago



Social networking is the new brand religion !

over 9 years ago




You Tube, Boing - Boing , Wired Magazine , Lightning Juice - By creating Communities of interest where like minded people congregate for active content
where they are the content is the new Viral Medium.
As people become discontented with controlled media, media that is often self serving, we will find Social Networking becoming the new media, in the LONG TAIL of community expression !

osmosis think tank !

over 9 years ago


Barry J.

The key for many of these sites is to NOT rely soley on advertising as their business model. This is an important point for both the social networking sites themselves and the advertisers. As we have seen, many of these sites are 'fly by nighters' as many people move from one network to another with no loyalty. Websites that are able to monetize their users in other ways (subscriptions, add-on services, etc.) by providing compelling reasons to stay loyal will be the big winners.

Some of the business networking websites that are doing an excellent job of finding alternative revenue streams are: Fast Pitch (www.fastpitchonline.com), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) and ecademy (www.ecademy). Fast Pitch! in particular, has launched a number of creative features that allow their users to leverage the network to promote thier business in a variety of ways.

Focusing on the Business Professional niche is also more intriguing because the opportunity for loyalty to the brand could be as long as 30 years. With sites like MySpace and Facebook, users are more likely to move on once they mature and enter the adult world.

over 9 years ago



It is important to note that Social Networking has become a big business trend today. Just a few years ago it was considered a niche for younger audiences but the maturity of both the software and of online business have made Social Networking and Online Community one of the most signification trends on the internet today.

Even IBM was sited in businessweek


Five or six years ago, our company http://netmodular.com/ was in the business of explaining how business can make use of social networking to enhance the outreach to their audience or customer but today, people are well aware of the value and look to professional implementations for reliable business services.

How times change!

over 9 years ago

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