With millions of people using the Internet each day, the World Wide Web has been a very important place for companies looking to market their products. Online advertising has followed a fairly standard path as Internet uses evolved over the years. Marketers first bought digital ads and then went even further by building their own Web sites to promote their products. These marketing tools are still being used but a new factor is beginning to change the way companies advertise online. That factor is social media.

Recently, companies have been amassing their followers to their social network pages on Facebook and Twitter. Businesses are now running online ads that focus less on endorsing their product and more on promoting their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. These ads are extremely interactive with menu tabs that resemble mini-Web sites and allow users to see a brand’s Twitter messages or Facebook posts in real time within the ad. The users can do all of this without leaving the Web page where the ad appears. More importantly, these ads allow businesses across the world to connect with consumers scattered around globe. Social media has created another way to advertise products globally for international businesses and can also be used at a local level with the same effectiveness.

Some may wonder whether social media advertising is more effective than regular online ads. According to Google, consumers spent an average of 30 seconds interacting with social media ads compared to the 11 second average of other digital ads. Consumers were also more likely to click on the “learn more” button of social media ads with 35 of every 1,000 users clicking through. The live updated content from Facebook and Twitter allow these online ads to feel less static and more current which explains why users are more intrigued by these ads.

Many businesses are building a strong presence on social networks and are looking for ways to make their brand more accessible. Online social media ads are allowing businesses to do just this. Even though the live content may include complaints or brands apologizing about mistakes, it could still benefit advertisers. In an era when consumers can actually become friends with companies on Facebook, consumers may expect some human characteristics including mistakes and shortcomings. The transparency provided by these ads will allow consumers to build trust filled relationships with companies and see the human side of brands in ways that haven’t been seen before.

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