Brands are fast recognising the benefits of advertising on the web and within social media. If Generation X are spending more time online than offline then clever brands know thats where to put the money. The problem at the moment is that although social networks are happy to run paid advertising the industry has not caught up yet with methods of distributing ads or ways to track delivery and reach (see post Dude, Where’s My Audience?). These are important to advertisers and taken for granted in traditional media spend. Its not enough to say “you know you should be here” – social networks need to invest in this area if they are to sustain any revenue going forward.
The Gaurdian reported today that Vodafone and First Direct have both pulled their spend from Facebook when they realised their ads were running on rotation on the British National Party’s page. Hopefully this move will lead to refinements in the technology so that the situation does not arise again and hurt a new medium.