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Are social ads no more effective than TV ads?

[photopress:crap_shoot_sm.jpg,full,alignright]Joshua Porter has an interesting analysis about social ads and why they are not working. The gist of his argument is summarized in these two paragraphs:

The difference, of course, is that when people go to Google, they’re actively looking for something. That something isn’t on Google. They are performing a search activity. Thus their task will be to click on a link that seems to promise what it is they’re looking for. It may be the organic results, or it may be an ad that seems close to what they want.

When people are on MySpace, the activity they’re doing isn’t search. It’s something akin to “hanging out” or “networking”. Their task is almost the opposite of search. They are already on the site they want to be on. They don’t need to click on links to take them where they want to go.

That makes sense. When I am searching for something I am clearly looking for something, making me an easy target for online advertisers. When I am hanging out on a social site, I maybe in a buying mode as well, but as a marketer you have no clue what I may be interested in. So the effectiveness of social ads may not be any better than that of TV ads or print ads – it’s a total hit or miss.

(via Wine Life Today Blog)

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