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Paying for mentions in social media, or social media sponsorships, has become a more popular marketing tactic. By late 2009, it had attracted the attention of theUS Federal Trade Commission, which released regulations requiring bloggers and certain other online publishers to disclose when they receive cash, free products or other compensation for a product or brand mention. But marketers are still interested in this form of outreach.
In Q2 2011, social media advertising company IZEA surveyed marketers and publishers about their preferences for such practices and the value they place on certain sponsorships. The survey found that 48.8% of marketers have used a sponsored blog post, while 32.5% said they would use it, and 39.4% have sponsored a tweet, while 35.6% said they would use that social media sponsorship. Additionally, only 23.2% have sponsored an online video, but 50.2% said they would use such a social media sponsorship.
These marketers are carefully monitoring these mentions and measuring how well they influence sales and business results by looking at quality and sentiment of content, cost-per-click, shares, cost per acquisition and more. Quality of a post was the most important measure of success, with 80% of respondents saying it was very important or important. Only 5.9% said it was not important. Clickthrough rates were also important or very important for 74.9% of respondents. Only 4.3% noted clickthrough rates as not important.
After measuring these activities, marketers put a monetary value on the different types of social media sponsorships. Blog posts and videos were the mentions with the most value, calculated to be $114.71 and $112.46, respectively, while Twitter edged out Facebook. Tweets were valued at $63.64, compared to $55.16 for a Facebook update.
Social media sponsorship can be a controversial practice, particularly if bloggers and other publishers do not disclose when they some type of compensation for a product or brand mention. But as marketers continue to measure success and see the value in these mentions, doing social media sponsorships the correct way will become a more accepted practice.