Study finds paid social media’s future is bright

A study finds social media users view sponsored post effectiveness as equal to or better than TV commercials.

The state of paid social media is strong and getting stronger.

More than half of companies—52 percent—have a separate budget for sponsored social media posts, according to the IZEA study.

The study, conducted with Halverson Group and The Right Brain Consumer Consulting, looked at the state of sponsored social media content. It also found that 54 percent of marketers feel better about paid social than they did a year ago.

Why? Probably because it’s effective.

In fact, the study found that marketers find sponsored social media posts as effective as, or more effective than TV commercials.

IZEA chairman and CEO Ted Murphy issued the following statement in a press release:

For the second year in a row, marketers are seeing the value in leveraging content creators to reach their target audiences in authentic and original ways. We have created the creator economy, a place where content has real power. Sponsored content has the ability to dramatically change the trajectory of conversations and sentiment for and about brands; we have the power to send products flying off of shelves.

OK, we get it—everybody plays, everybody wins. But how much cash are these companies dishing out to make a splash in social?

“Twenty-five percent of companies have an organizational annual budget in excess of $500,000; five percent estimated their Sponsored Social annual budget is in excess of $5 million,” the study stated.

That’s a significant investment by any measure, but is it working?

Possibly. Consider these study insights:

· More than one in three adult online users ages 18-70 have seen a sponsored social message in the past year.

· Overall, consumers estimate they see 86 sponsored social messages per month across all platforms. That equals about three per day.

· Overall, about two in five consumers see more sponsored social messages than one year ago, with highest penetration sites driving the greatest increase.

· Sponsored social is perceived by social media users to be equally or more effective than TV commercials, and far exceeds banner and traditional print/radio ads in terms of effectiveness.

Yes, I would say that’s effective.

In my freelance work, I can’t tell you how many marketing decision makers have said things like, “I just don’t think any of this social stuff really works.” I only wish I had this study during those meetings to back up these conclusions:

1. Paid social media is growing

2. Paid social media is working

3. Paid social media is the future—for now

Before you jump into the comments to tell me the sky isn’t falling and paid social media isn’t the be-all and end-all, yes—I realize there are exceptions to the rule. Let us hear about them. How has your experience been with paid social media?

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