William Shakespeare once said, "Don't believe everything you read on Facebook."
Okay, maybe it wasn't the great bard, but the idea rings true. For businesses it poses the question: If trust is an issue, is social media the best place to market your brand?
The short answer is no. It's still an integral part of the marketing toolkit, and will continue to be so for some time.
But, there are growing concerns among media experts - 77% think that falling trust in social platforms will negatively impact media spend.
For many businesses, there is the added dilemma of knowing which platform to dedicate money, time and resources to. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where your target audience is and how to reach them.
In the light of growing scepticism of social media advertising, traditional media platforms like local news, radio and TV, offer an alternative way to advertise your business.
For many SMEs, regional news offers an effective way of advertising vs. the pricier options of TV and radio. And, thanks to self-serve advertising, it’s accessible to those with even the most modest of marketing budgets.
In fact, there are some strong reasons why your local news title could be the right choice to advertise online with.
Social media platforms encourage users to share personal information, but at the same time they need to prove they can keep it safe. Unfortunately, there have been a number of high profile data breaches in the last decade. Leading to people placing less stock in these platforms.
As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” (This one's a genuine quote)
Local news brands, on the other hand, are highly regarded by readers. In fact, consumers trust local print and online media three times more than social media*. Part of that is because traditional media is held to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability, thanks to being regulated by organisations like IPSO and ASA.
By picking a trustworthy platform to advertise on, a brand can build credibility and confidence, increasing the chance of potential leads becoming paying customers.
Advertising with a regional news platform offers a better experience, thanks to first-party data. Users tend to stay on a news page for longer, as they actively click to view the topics that interest them. This can extend the time they view your ad, making it more likely that they'll recognise and recall your brand when they're ready to buy.
In contrast, the average social media user spends just 0.7 seconds viewing an ad, as they scroll past enough content to scale the height of the empire state building every day. Making it significantly harder for your ad to get noticed.
High-quality data allows you to target the desired audience, letting you reach the right people for your business. Knowing who you're talking to, also means you can personalise your ads, making them appeal to your ideal customer.
You don’t need to look for long to find stories of intrusion of privacy or misuse of data on social media. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is just one such example. It highlights the conflict of interest for social networks to keep both users and advertisers happy, while not falling foul of complex regulations.
In contrast, local news sites typically have clear privacy policies in place, explaining exactly how they record data and keep it safe. You can read ours here.
Privacy being a primary customer concern, brands should think seriously about their digital presence. 52% of social media users say protecting their privacy and data is incredibly impactful on their decision to interact with ads. And 43% say they’d switch from their preferred brand to a second-choice brand if the latter provided a good privacy experience.
Developing awareness of your brand on social media can be effective and rewarding, but it’s also a challenge. It’s crowded with other brands trying to grab people’s attention, making it hard to stand out. And it's hard for brands with small budgets or fewer followers to be able to make a splash big enough to make a return on their investment.
Advertising with a local news title is a great and cost-effective way for new customers to discover your brand. Allowing you to build brand awareness, so that when potential customers are looking to make a purchase, they’re more likely to think of you.
With self-serve advertising you can give people who’ve never come across your brand a strong first impression, no matter your marketing budget.
Discover more about the effectiveness of online advertising.
Advertising on social media doesn't allow you to control the kind of content your ad is seen next to. Meaning there’s a risk your brand will appear next to content you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
One method that National World Ad Manager offers, and is growing in popularity, is contextual advertising. This places your ads alongside content that’s relevant to your products.
For example, placing an ad for athletic clothing next to an article about running. It’s already a safe bet that the people reading the content are interested in the subject, so you have a better chance of being a brand they think of, when they’re considering buying.
Good advertising strategy calls for a mix of marketing channels to be most effective. It’s important to think about what’s right for the goals you want to achieve.
Social media platforms have always been popular because of their advertising platforms. But now, local news brands provide a strong alternative - a self-serve model, on a more trusted platform, with better privacy and higher-quality data. It’s also a cost-effective way to build your brand awareness with the right audience beside relevant content.
*YouGov/Local Media Works, 2018