Social media advertising was estimated to reach $1.7 billion in 2010 by Emarketer (August 2010), an independent digital intelligence firm, and is projected by Forrester Research (April 2009), an independent research company, to reach $3.1 billion by 2014. Despite the inherently conversational nature of social media, the majority of brand budgets are currently allocated towards display advertising (banner ads and text links) on social sites. While most advertisers understand the value of word of mouth marketing, peer recommendations and product reviews, few understand how to efficiently engage social media users for these purposes. Those who effectively attempt an approach are quickly limited by the amount of effort required to effectively manage and measure a truly integrated campaign.
The SMS space has been limited primarily by the current inefficiencies of the market. The social media publisher and advertiser universe is large and highly fragmented among topic, quality and platform. Despite the size of this market, most advertisers and social media publishers lack an efficient way to identify and engage each other. Instead, we believe brands have been forced to utilize a variety of highly inefficient sources and processes to navigate the complicated landscape of social media sponsorship, often resulting in low returns on their time investment or worse-yet, questionable results.
At the same time, social media publishers that would like to monetize their community are faced with significant challenges in finding quality advertisers who are motivated to sponsor them and making them aware of their blog, twitter or Facebook profile. In addition, smaller publishers simply lack the individual influence and audience needed to warrant the processing of a micro-transaction. In many cases it costs an advertiser more money to cut a check to a small publisher than the value of the sponsorship payment itself.
Further complicating the SMS process for both parties are FTC regulations around social media endorsements, IRS tax reporting generally applicable to anyone receiving income for services, and the associated campaign tracking required to provide compliance. While many advertisers would prefer to be “part of the conversation,” based on our experience, we believe the complexity and cost of individual social media sponsorship often deters them from doing so.
We believe that the current state of SMS represents a significant corporate opportunity for us. We address these common problems with targeted, scalable marketplaces that aggregate social media publishers and advertisers. We offer an efficient, innovative way for publishers and advertisers of all sizes to find each other and complete a sponsorship transaction.