There is a lot of talk out there about how Facebook and other social media advertising outlets will make all other forms of digital advertising moot. There is no doubt that there is a lot of value in social media. The ability to create a conversation with your constituents is something that cannot be found at scale anywhere else. It is a marketing channel that has spawned an entire industry, and rightfully so.
That said, the demise of all other digital-based advertising at the emergence of this social channel is poppycock. I have often noticed that the digital experts in our space lack a historical view of advertising. The digital VC community—which has zero media and advertising expertise, but that invests heavily in digital companies—exacerbates this.
Dynamic new media and emerging communication channels often see meteoric growth. A leveling off always follows growth, as the channel finds its rightful place within the media mix of any advertisers’ plans. All you have to do is look back at the emergence of search marketing and you can see the parallel. It was not so long ago that it was proclaimed that display, at the hands of search, was dead. That proclamation was nullified, of course, when Google re-invested in display with the purchase of DoubleClick.
We can delve into history and find countless examples of new media coming of age, such as: broadcast television, cable television, etc. We can track their meteoric rises and their plateauing as they find their rightful place in the media mix. That’s not to say some media channels don’t suffer—changes in content distribution models do create disruptions beyond maturation, as we have seen with digital content vs. print and satellite radio vs. terrestrial.
In the case of social media, we are bound to see continued growth as marketers find new ways to leverage the channel. Does that mean the death of all other forms of digital advertising? Highly unlikely.