Successful Social Sharing

Here’s a new advertising rule. Today, if one person actually views your ad online, that’s good. Assume that person shares your ad with a friend so that two people see it.

That’s great. Assume that one of those two people posts your ad on their Facebook wall or tweets it so that all of her friends, fans or followers see it. That’s effective social advertising.

I know what you’re thinking. Who actually shares ads? Believe it or not, people share ads more often than you might think. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 8 per cent of Facebook users say they have shared a video ad on Facebook, and 16 per cent of Facebook app users and social gamers say they have shared a video ad inside a social app or game. Considering Facebook has about a billion users, these numbers are pretty impressive. 

Marketers are beginning to understand and appreciate the earned media value that social sharing offers them. They’re facilitating this feature on their ads, all the while making social shares and earned impressions top-of-the-funnel success metrics for their brand advertising campaigns. For these reasons, it is no surprise that social sharing features are becoming an integral part of digital, social and mobile advertising creative. 

So what can marketers do to inspire social sharing for their digital ads? Below are five tips that should help…

Ensure ad campaigns are scalable
One of the best ways to make sure an ad gets shared is to engage millions of users with a scalable, digital ad campaign. According to data from BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon, sharing usually takes place among “small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers.” In fact, the median ratio of Facebook views to shares is approximately 9:1. So for every Facebook share, about nine people visit the story. This means that many people have shared the most popular posts on Facebook, as opposed to just one influencer that theoretically would spawn a thousand clicks. The takeaway here is marketers must run scalable digital campaigns to facilitate social sharing.

Run relevant, customizable ads
Remember that saying birds of a feather flock together? This rings true across digital platforms, where videos and ads are shared if consumers feel their friends and family will benefit from them. In many cases, what’s relevant to a user will also appeal to many of his or her friends. Therefore, relevant messaging is a great way to inspire social sharing.
Also, marketers must partner with ad platforms that can make sure their relevant marketing message is shareable. While this isn’t rocket science, I wonder how many ad technology vendors out there today do this the right way.

Give them something to share

It’s no secret that funny videos, Super Bowl commercials and ads that entertain have a higher potential to get shared, as do coupons, sweepstakes and the like. That’s because these ads have something in common: they engage and provide value for people.

Today, almost any brand can inspire social sharing if they run viewable, engaging ads, because if a user spends more time interacting with an ad, she’s more likely to share it. For this reason, marketers must run ads that make people laugh, appeal to their emotions (heartfelt, carnal or otherwise) or offer them something they can’t resist.

Provide the most intuitive user experience
How technology companies present the user with social sharing options is of the utmost importance. Users must know exactly what clicking on a social sharing button (for example a Facebook icon) will allow them to do, as well as what message they are sharing with their friends. Otherwise, relevant, shareable messages will surely go to waste.

Include a strong call to action
A strong call to action (such as a shareable promotion or coupon) will add value for the user and possibly be relevant for their friends, which means it has the potential to get shared. Marketers also have a chance to significantly increase the size of their digital ad campaign by including a strong call to action as a shareable message, which will help their campaign get even more earned media impressions on social platforms. Research shows that the average person has about 245 friends. If a marketer is able to facilitate social sharing, image how many earned newsfeed and impressions they can receive.

Recently, a popular soft drink company ran a sweepstakes with MediaBrix that earned half a million unique impressions, thanks to the tips above. While no two digital ad campaigns are alike, any marketer can enjoy the same results if they take these five tips to heart.


Ari Brandt is co-founder and CEO of MediaBrix

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