The evolution of social media advertising

12/19 By Rossmary Gil

The dawn of digital 

In the beginning, there was the banner, and then the marketers said “Let there be clicks” and it was good. The first digital ad, an AT&T banner on what would become Wired.com, debuted in October 27th, 1994. The digital ad space has changed so much since that time that it sounds more like a mythological creation story than anything resembling our present-day digital ecosystem. The advent of digital showed marketers where their audiences clicked and how they behaved, but social platforms truly close the loop, allowing marketers to connect the dots of identity as never before.  

Social platforms change the game

In 2004 Facebook planted a few seeds at select American colleges and started cultivating what would become one of the first true walled gardens, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the platform inked its first ad deal, a display partnership with JP Morgan Chase to promote Chase credit cards. YouTube soon followed, launching the first ads within its own ecosystem in 2007.

The dominoes didn’t fall quickly, but fall they did. Twitter, which opened to users in 2006 didn’t introduce ads into its platform until 2010. By that point, it was commonly accepted that social media platforms would be well served to monetize their content with display advertising. Instagram and Pinterest soon followed suit, launching their own ad products in 2013. By the time Snapchat introduced advertising in 2014, just three years after it was founded, it was commonly understood that the business model of social platforms would be defined by their ability to attract users to their walled gardens and expose them to targeted advertising.

Targeting and insight become essential  

Subscription-based social media platforms provide a level of targeting and insight that just is not accessible to traditional media. Users don’t just log in and browse, they tell the platforms their name, and where they live, what they like and who they know, painting the most vivid picture currently possible for marketers looking to target specific consumers.

Of course, the name “walled garden” doesn’t just describe the abundance of insight that blooms inside of social platforms, it also refers to the sometimes limited ability of marketers to see inside.  That’s why third-party verification is a game changer. A trusted third-party can provide marketers with a window into the walled garden, ensuring that the results they see from their campaigns are fully measurable and verified.

Don’t risk being left behind

Ultimately, walled gardens provide a unique opportunity for media to do what it has always aimed to do, measure with precision just who is touched by a campaign and what action they take as a result. In the modern digital ecosystem, marketers who don’t embrace a tool as powerful as social platforms risk being left behind. Verification provides the balance necessary, allowing marketers to embrace social platforms with confidence.

Learn more about how verification can help you to optimize your ads inside walled gardens.