This is a guest post by Matthew Zeitler.
As I was tossing and turning in bed last night, I started to think about the future of social media, and I began to realize that the marketplace is just too crowded for advertisers. The simple fact is that we need new venues.
The first idea that I came up with doesn’t even seem like much of an idea, but more of a logical progression in the lifespan of social networking. When people generate accounts with several thousand friends, they themselves become advertising machines, with the ability to reach out to their entire friend base. What if you were able to harness the power of their popularity?
For example; you hire ten people, each with 5,000 unique friends, to post an advertisement on their walls. Do the math. With just these ten people, you have gained an incredible amount of exposure. I believe that if the system is not abused (i.e. flooding your wall with posts, to the dismay of your friends), this may become the future of online advertising.
Continuing on this path, I started to flesh out the concept of “Direct Integration”. We have passed the age of advertising on side bars and drop-down menus, and so I began to think of other possible sources that are viable for ad integration.
Some of the most influential Youtubers take advantage of product placement in their videos; you may have seen several do a plug for Netflix.com at the end of their videos. But this only scratches the surface of what is possible with the Youtube platform. What if you were able to reach a small-scale producer, who maybe has 40,000 subscribers, about directly plugging a product into one of his/her videos? You would have access to an entirely new set of people, and the producer would earn an extra bit of money on the side.
Another venue that I thought about was gaming. I’m not talking about the big-budget publishing houses that make mainstream games, but rather the indie developer putting out small titles on sites like Kongregate. Presumably, if the producer submits his/her game to several of these gaming portals, one could be looking at an entirely new advertising market. There are systems that cosmetically insert ads before a title starts, but I’m talking about complete integration within a game. You contact the developer directly, and he plugs it into the game, either in a menu or in the game itself.
These are just a couple ideas that I had as part of my brainstorming, and certainly I am not doing justice to the entirety of this concept, but I believe that under the right circumstances, the direct integration of advertisements in social media is the future.