Monday, January 7, 2008

Case Study Monday: Social Marketing to Market Niches

We'd thought we'd present a case study today on one of the growing trends of 2008 and beyond, and that is the prediction that social media growth in 2008 will emerge from more targeted offerings that attract users based on interest.

So, in addition to the massive Facebook and MySpace sites that attract millions of users, new niche social sites are popping up on a daily basis.

As direct marketers, we couldn't be happier with this trend.

We were pleased to see this case study about Loop'd Network, a site that features action sports and appeals to a young, adventure-seeking crowd. The site is relatively new (just launched in November) and already boasts 240,000 members. Even more important, Loop'd "has been able to lure advertising from some of the biggest brands in action sports, including Oakley, retailer PacSun and Monster Energy drink."

It sounds like they're building the site the right way. For example, they're counting on user-generated content to help build momentum. "With the help of Loop'd, Oakley is inviting amateurs to submit videos of themselves doing their best tricks in six different action sports, including skateboarding, snowboarding and motocross. In the past month, about 1,500 users have submitted videos of themselves that have been judged by other users and Oakley employees as a way to reward emerging talent and foster good will among action-sports enthusiasts." Sounds fun to me!

Believe me, social marketing is big business--and niche social marketing is seeing some significant growth. "According to eMarketer, which tracks online media, companies will spend $1.6 billion this year – a 69 percent increase over 2007 – to advertise on social networking sites."

Although the bulk of those ad dollars will go to the social networking behemoths, smaller sites such as Loop'd are projected to account for 10% of the spend in 2008. Hmmm. Let's see, 10% of 1.6 billion is a heck of a lot of money!

Direct marketers cannot ignore the power of social media sites, especially now that so many targeted sites are popping up, and growing in popularity. What a fun and creative way to reach our target markets!


Ted Grigg said...

No doubt that such sites are getting traffic. But the trick will be to quantify that traffic with sales results.

Getting attention as with awareness advertising does not necessarily equal sales results.

CEOs and CFOs will require the metrics to justify that budget growth.

Thanks for a great case study.

Suzanne Obermire said...

Measurement is ALWAYS the trick, isn't it? But, I think it will easier to make the numbers work when the audience is more targeted. Makes it less mass/awareness and more direct marketing, in my opinion.