As the most utilised social media platform with 2.85 billion monthly active users, Facebook has almost been the default go-to for advertisers. However, recent events surrounding Facebook, from the outage to the whistleblower testimony in congress, have put a dent in the platform’s lustre.
Earlier this month, former Facebook employee Ms. Frances Haugen levelled some serious accusations at the tech giant, exposing their allegedly unethical practices. Those allegations include the fact that the company has a habit of turning a blind eye to hateful content and misinformation to maximize profits, a business practice that is particularly unacceptable to millennials and Generation Z.
However, before these revelations, Facebook earned $29 billion in the Q2 of 2021, up 56% from the previous year, proving that Facebook’s appeal to advertisers is particularly strong. A recent poll by AdAge shows that most respondents are still willing to utilise their Facebook and Instagram accounts but agree that brands should stop advertising on Facebook.
Being surrounded by controversy is nothing new for the social media giant. Back in the 2016 US presidential election, it weathered the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook users’ data were breached and used to benefit the Trump Campaign.
Additionally, companies like Coca Cola and Unilever participated in the #StopHateForProfit campaign, an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) due to concerns about its role in spreading hate speech and misinformation.
Such an attempt may last a short while, but has failed to create a long-lasting impact. This is because Facebook has too many clients and small businesses that rely on its services to get the word out.
That said, advertisers have alternatives and it is an exciting eco-system once you start looking a bit further afield.
While Facebook has been the dominant force on social media for years, other platforms are catching up as well. TikTok, for instance, has been gaining steam. In fact, it overtook Facebook as the most downloaded app in 2020. With more than one billion users worldwide, TikTok advertising has become an alternative for companies.
Big companies such as BMW and Ralph Lauren have given it a try. Through TikTok Ads, brands not only get the traditional in-feed display ads, but they can also incorporate branded stickers, filters, hashtag challenges, and more.
While it makes sense to advertise on mainstream social media sites, there are plenty of emerging alternatives that marketers should keep their eye on as well, like Reddit.
Reddit is an online-based community forum that’s got almost every topic covered; you’ll find a niche subreddit regarding your business somewhere. However, since Reddit Ads are still ramping up their monetisation capabilities, it might lag slightly behind established companies like Twitter.
With 340 million users worldwide, with 80% of those located outside the US, Twitter Ads can be a good alternative to Facebook. The platform enables users to promote one’s tweet to get their personal account or business known to the right target audience by using popular hashtags and trending topics. Users are very engaged with the content.
As the leading social media platform for working professionals, LinkedIn ads are highly targetable and can be very important for those selling to businesses – B2B. It’s also a good place to find a new job.
Ads on Google can be more generalised, but tied to specific key terms. This means that if you’re googling for tips on how to secure your business from cyberattacks, the most likely ads to show up at the top of your search results are cybersecurity solutions. Search has been making a comeback, as have display ads, another area where Google dominates, which can be purchased inside content streams. We’ll get to YouTube in a second.
The same principle also applies to Quora, the largest Q&A platform worldwide with approximately 300 million unique visitors monthly. The ad will appear below the question that’s related to it. For instance, if you’re searching on ways to get a good score on an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, you’ll likely to encounter a Grammarly ad, an online tool to help with your writing and grammar, as seen below:
Long before Facebook came to the advertising space, newspapers and magazines had been the default option for brands to get their name out there and be talked about. As the saying goes, ‘going back to basics’ is sometimes necessary. Reputable publications, such as The New York Times or The Washington Post, have a code of ethics and standard operating procedure (SOP) in creating and publishing news and content.
It needn’t be a global news brand either. We tend to think advertising across digital media is going to make a comeback.
Along with newspapers and magazines, television ads are the age-old tool to reach a wide audience. You can place an ad on a prime time slot for a larger audience, where the programme has proven to be a rating success. However, keep in mind that commercials or ads during this time are much more expensive than they are during the daytime slot.
Additionally, advertisements tend to be heftier when it appears during a special occasion, where a large audience is guaranteed, such as award shows or the Super Bowl, often the most-watched programme of the year in the US. This year’s Super Bowl ad cost a whopping $5.5 million for a 30-second commercial.
As the pandemic still looms large worldwide, many people are still cooped up in their homes. Most have turned to video on demand (VOD) or over the top streaming services to entertain themselves. This can be seen by the fact that global streaming service subscriptions topped one billion in 2020. A few big players include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max.
While Netflix and Disney+ have no advertisements, HBO Max and Amazon Prime do, specifically for their lower-tier subscription. The same applies to streaming services in Asia like Viu; ads even appear during scenes. Another approach is to sponsor a particular programme, where brands are integrated throughout.
One example is the “Youth with You” variety competition programme on iQiyi. Partnered with Singapore’s Tourism Board, Singapore became the exclusive destination partner for the show’s duration.
Aside from VOD, podcasting has also increased so much that we’ve discussed how to advertise on it. Spotify, for instance, has signed exclusive deals with A-list celebrities and even former US presidents, including Kim Kardashian and Prince Harry to Barack and Michelle Obama, to entice users.
One shouldn’t forget YouTube, the leading video sharing platform globally, where people can educate or entertain themselves about various topics. With more than two billion users, you get to reach a broad audience. Usually, the ad is placed at the beginning, middle, or end of the video. For the duration itself, it can last as short as 5 seconds (non-skippable) to as long as six minutes (skippable). The targeting is great, and YouTube is increasingly become a big-screen, sit back watching experience, the type of environment advertisers love.