A recent study conducted by BIA / Kelsey predicts that by 2017, social media advertising spending will have reached 11 billion dollars; a significant growth compared to 4.7 billion dollars last year.

Business owners and investors are excited with this huge growth, but according to Ian Schafer, chief executive of Deep Focus, a full-service, interactive marketing agency, the ad agency may not be ready to deliver when 2017 comes.

Schafer points out the study conducted by YouGov, which showed that last year, only one out of 20 users in Facebook clicked at least one advertisement. In addition, less than ten percent of Facebook users think that targeted ads are relevant to their needs.

One reason why Facebook ads have such a negative impact on users is because they appear to march into our private social media space,  sending us spam messages, mobile banners, occupying the right side of our profiles, forcing us to watch 15 second video ads, and more.

Social media advertising money should be spent on creating great content first, and that will lead to good advertising in social media. (Image: bizlaunchmarketing (CC) via Flickr)

Social media advertising money should be spent on creating great content first, and that will lead to good advertising in social media. (Image: bizlaunchmarketing (CC) via Flickr)

Social media platforms are expected to create revenue through advertising, especially if they go public or become part of public firms. But this leads them to sell ads similar to those of online ads. This is true despite the assurance of social media marketing, in which social media is expected to increase brand awareness and make people know more about brands and the people behind brands.  But this is hard work and takes time, so we see lots of ads in social media, going in pursuit of revenue rather than consumers.

To solve these problems, many social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, have ad solutions that help brand owners create good content. In addition, Facebook carries out events that help make better publishers out of brands. Still, most of the money is used for clickable ads, and only a few go to creating content because there is a huge detachment between people who buy the ads and those who create the content.

Schafer says that good advertising should come out of good content, shared through social media platforms. Advertising money is better spent on making good content and getting more and more people to share it. In this regard, Schafer says that advertising through social media is “a result, not a product.”

Social media should be a place where relevant ideas and excellent content are spread. We should not use social media platforms to stuff ads that are just being distractions. As such, brands should always produce, publish and promote content. Then, advertising dollars in support of content will be spent at the right time. This is what is known as a content-first social media ad strategy.