Social media is one of the great marketing unknowns.  Some campaigns can be tracked and defined as successful or not, but for the vast majority of companies, determining whether or not social media is successful, is an unknown.

Which leads me the topic of advertising on social media.  Or maybe advertising is the wrong word…maybe the word should be promotional mentions.  I make the distinction because it’s not necessarily advertising in its classic definition.  A lot of social media promotions are reminders and information sharing.  I mention all this as background to a review of social media advertising on the major channels.

I found a great article on inc.com written by Hollis Thomases that reviews the advertising changes made by the big social networks.

Facebook
1.    Page Post Targeting Enhanced – First, what kind of a name is that?  How can you be facebook in 2013 and launch a product with that name?  Thanks, I needed to get that off my chest.  The name stinks, but the product is useful.  Advertisers are now able to target page posts by gender, age, likes, education, relationship status and more.  All very helpful tools for marketers looking to pinpoint their target market.
2.    Pages you may like – Similar to sponsored stories, but for mobile.
3.    Page Like Ads - A tool launched in December to help businesses create ads to reach their current fans.
4.    Graph Search – A search tool that is evolving, but rather than being based on links, it returns results based on likes.  This is undoubtedly Facebook’s entré into the search field.

LinkedIn
1.     Sponsored Posts are coming later in 2013.
2.    A new API (Application Programming Interface) which will allow for the testing and management of multiple campaigns.
Although not necessarily the media of choice for payday loan affiliates, consideration should be given to some of these options for insurance lead generation.

STORY UPDATE:  Reuter’s news service reported that the FTC released new rules regarding mobile and social media advertising and it definitely impacts the payday loan and insurance businesses.  Their latest report contained this:

"Advertisers should make sure their disclosures are clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view their ads," the FTC's Lesley Fair said in a blog post accompanying the 53-page report.
That means that if an ad would be deceptive or unfair (or would otherwise violate an FTC rule) without a disclosure — but the disclosure can't be made clearly and conspicuously on a particular device or platform — then that ad shouldn't run on that device or platform," Fair wrote.

In other words, if your industry requires a disclaimer in its advertising, you have to include it on mobile and social media now too.