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Is Social Media the new Hero of Media Mix?

Brands are built by efforts of many stakeholders.
Stakeholders are primarily the Company owners, Product teams – R&D; Marketing units - brand team, media agencies, creative team, vendors; Service – customer care, feedback, test marketers; Supply chain - wholesalers, distributors, retailers and most importantly the decision makers across the chain.
Brands develop their personalities over years of service, delivering exceptional products / services and assuring the same level of quality across time, geographies and even generations.

In the entire mix, the Media Agency has a special importance, significance and role. They not only bring their experience on the table, their analysis & expertise helps reach out to the right audience, at the right time, at the right place, by increasing the efficiency of every dollar spent.
In a market that has its dominant spenders, we also see some niche products and services making their mark without spending. They rely on public relations (PR) and WoM ( word of mouth) to do the trick. Then there are players which are extremely important in the eco-system, but live in a cluttered market. The biggest challenge for them is to be visible, but within their own audience segments, target markets and most importantly, Budgets.

On an overall level, the media mix consists of Television, Radio, Print, Outdoor, Digital, Activations (on Ground events) & Exclusive partnerships. While analyzing the media mix, the last two are often ignored. Now, when we say Digital Media – it consists of Search Marketing, Social Media, Video Ads, Mobile Presence, Display and Online PR. Creative and Applications are also an important part of digital strategy. Global advertising trends and reports have been indicating that over the past 2 years, digital spends have been in the range of 3% to 10% of total media spends. Refer: 

The dynamic nature of Digital media, the real time conversion tracking and a million tools in Digital Analytics has given this emerging media a new meaning. Brands have started to take note of their audience’s moves, likes, preferences and even behavior on digital media seriously. 3rd Party tracking gives a new dimension to the media campaigns. Social Media has built such a credible base of influencers across platforms that brands can no longer ignore it. Though social media cannot be a must have for all brands, but it does have a lot of positives to offer for most of the brands across categories. The most attractive and distinctive factor for social media success is the database (community) that gets built, the connect it provides and the opportunities of engaging this huge community it opens up.

Over the years, digital media has seen growth in the entire media mix. Social media, on the other hand, is the driving force in the recent years, for increased spends online. Mobile is a medium that has witnessed breakout growth – with smartphones dominating the personal space (and replacing walkmans, music players, point& shoot cameras, video recorders, portable gaming consoles and palmtops), social media is one of the most engaging activity for smartphone users. This combination of getting personal with smartphones and making noise on social media has addicted the users & caught the attention of branding strategists. Search Marketing has been continuously developing and getting sophisticated by the day. Recently, Google has also made significant changes to their Analytics Platform, giving the operators access to mind-blowing features to reach the target audience using exceptionally precise targeting options.
Display Media has seen a few changes and has been the backbone of digital spends. But Social Media has become the Next Big Thing and still continues to be the most interesting option that digital media has to offer.
The spends on social media are not wasted, as perceived by the marketers. Invest in building a community and they will always be with you, critique you, talk with you (not talk to you), and be a part of your growth story. As against display media, where the impression either takes the user to the destination and its purpose is served, social media spends bring the user closer to the brand. No other media channel, component or vehicle can build a community as efficiently as social media. Yes, this is surely the most important platform. It is here to stay. The analytics and Insight tools that are being developed for various platforms shows how much the marketers crave for insights from social media. We have Big Data from social media, we have all the insights & analytics in place, and we have the required budgets to back it up – and yes, that’s how Social media is eating into the pie of spends across the media mix and is on the way to be one of the most crucial, if not biggest, component in a Brand’s media mix.

The RoI from Social Media is a question with hundreds of answers and each brand has settled with at least a couple of them. Right from cost per fan, increase in sales, site visits and positive sentiments, we have grown enough to follow a few metrics to measure the Social Media RoI. A basic search on Social media ROI on SocialMediaToday can give us hundreds of results - indicating how experts are looking at analyzing the returns.

In the next decade, we may even see social media spends surpass Print, Radio & Outdoor; taking Digital Media to the no.2 spot in the overall Media Mix. Only time will tell us.

What Now?
Click, share. Shoot, share. Play, share. Write, share. Blog, share. Connect, interact, share!

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