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Social media advertising revenue is expected to reach nearly $10 billion by 2016, according to BIA/Kelsey. The local media and advertising firm’s forecast predicts that social media spending will be $4.6 billion in 2012, rising to $9.6 billion in 2016.

As spending on social media advertising increases and the cost of advertising on social media rises, both marketers and social networks must be innovative and creative, finding ways to make advertisements engaging, less of an interruption, and more useful to users. Here are some ways we’ve seen so far.

Native Advertising – This is an much-discussed trend in the industry, as native advertising is branded content that appears as an ad or sponsored post on a social network or publishing site. Social sites such as Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Twitter, and even Facebook have led the trend, making their ad offerings more integrated into the content and less of an interruption for users.

Think of Promoted Tweets that show up in your Twitter stream or the sponsored posts on Buzzfeed (example here). Besides more social sites, publishers including The Atlantic,, and Mashable have all introduced native ad options in recent weeks. Most recently, Skype announced that it will expand its advertising platform in 2013 to include native ad types such as interactive video placements. In other words, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of it.

Interactivity – Lately, Old Spice is king of interactive advertising, going back to its “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa. The company encouraged fans to connect with Mustafa via social media and the company created personalized YouTube videos. Earlier in 2012, Old Spice created a commercial with Terry Crews, which was posted on Vimeo, where fans could use the interactive features of the site to make music.

This month, Old Spice took advantage of December 21, 2012, or the end of the Mayan calendar with an online, interactive video game featuring Dikembe Mutombo. Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World captured the media’s attention and got consumers to interact with the brand in a new and interesting way.

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