8 Ways to Integrate Social Media and Online Advertising

by Shannon Paul on May 20, 2010

Traditional advertising gets a lot of criticism in the social media space. Many say ads don’t work anymore on an increasingly savvy audience, but what if that’s only part right? Sure, fewer people may actually click, but what if examining the overall effectiveness of campaigns sometimes requires a longer view?

What if Impressions Really DO Matter?

Like having interactions in social networks, encountering ads also becomes a part of our online experience. Just because I don’t click on an ad doesn’t mean that ad didn’t leave an impression. What if we only think we ignore ads online? A report from GroupM Search and comScore released late last year confirms this idea.

Search reveals consumer intent, but a branded social media presence, and advertising that includes paid search help shape that consumer intent.

The report found consumers who were exposed to a brand's social media presence as well as paid search advertising were more likely to search on keywords associated with the lower part of the funnel, like the company name and names of products

It seems that no matter how much we ask, some consumers simply prefer not to click. However, when they do encounter something of interest, they’ll instead Google the name of the company or product. The results resonate with me because I am this type of consumer.

Rather than focusing on what department should own social media, maybe it’s better to think about how social media can compliment other marketing and advertising activities. Below is a list of my ideas on how to align a social media presence with other types of advertising.

How to Influence Discovery: Aligning Social with Paid Search and Advertising

  1. Find out what search terms your company or product teams are bidding on and integrate them into descriptions/bios on social profiles
  2. Upload images of display ads into Flickr (lots of photo sharing sites out there, I prefer Flickr) and tag with the search terms the company or product teams are bidding on. Use those images in blog posts or Facebook updates about current promotions
  3. Coordinate backgrounds of social profiles to reflect creative elements in recent display campaigns
  4. Include links to social profiles in display ads when possible
  5. Write blog posts on current promotions without being salesy – simply give the facts of the promotion and link to the pre-sell, or landing page for the promotion
  6. Embed TV commercials on YouTube, or even Flash animations used in online ads. There are actually people who think advertising is interesting and they may just happen to be at the outer rim of your funnel.
  7. Blog about your new commercial and embed it in the blog post, then ask for customer feedback.
  8. Take still shots of your TV or animation and upload those to Flickr tagged with keywords your paid search team is bidding on

This list by no means applies to everyone at every time, but rather is meant to spark the conversation and get you thinking about how you can build a more integrated presence for consumers. Notice this post really isn’t about the conversation or approach piece – that’s a different set of tactics for a different post.

But What About Measurement?

There are many ways to look at multitouch measurement, but if nothing else, look at increased branded keyword search over time. If you’re coordinating this effort with creative redesigns, new campaigns and design refreshes you may even see little peaks in this behavior, but you might not.

You may simply see a nice, steady upward trend. Nothing wrong with that… just make sure you have a site that can convert that new traffic.

To Be Continued…

Do you have other ideas you would like to see added to this list? How can you integrate all your marketing and communications activities so rather than competing for money and glory inside the company, they work in harmony to attract the right consumers?

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

May 20, 2010 Daryl Woods

Great post and very useful for a campaign I’m building right now.

Thanks to @KrisColvin for the RT that brought me here.


May 20, 2010 Shannon Paul

Daryl – That’s always music to my ears – that I’ve written something useful :)

Thank you!


May 20, 2010 Sara Goodman

I tried your first point under, “How to Influence Discovery: Aligning Social with Paid Search and Advertising,” adding search terms into web copy and descriptions on social media sites, and it seemed to pick up traffic.

Thanks for the post. Good ideas!


May 20, 2010 Shannon Paul

Sara – Good to know you’re tried one of the tactics here with good results – thanks so much!


May 20, 2010 An Bui


This is one of my favorite posts from you – love the funnel & love the step by step. Never crossed my mind to integrate the two *palmface*


May 21, 2010 Shannon Paul

An, I’m just glad you think it’s helpful. We all have palmface moments ;)


May 20, 2010 Laura P Thomas

Good post!

I especially like #6 because I often find myself searching YouTube for that certain funny/weird/memorable commercial that I’m trying to recall so I can send it to a friend, comment on it via Twitter or Facebook, or mention it in a blog post.


May 21, 2010 Shannon Paul

I agree, Laura – even the bad ones.

I love looking at old TV ads. They really say a lot about culture and society beyond the products they’re touting. Just like technology – the really interesting developments happen when people start using your stuff for different purposes than you may have originally intended.

Great point!


May 21, 2010 Hank Wasiak

Great post with some excellent tips and tools. More importantly, kudos for you point of view that there is indeed untapped potential in bringing social media and traditional media into alignment. Social Media has morphed into the 5th P of the marketing mix (People) and people strategy is equal to the other 4 P’s…Product Price Place Promotion. Time for everyone involved in marketing communications (advertising, pr, digital, direct, experiential, etc. ) to ditch the silos and embrace the fact that the connective tissue is People (way beyond just your customers) and keys to success are engaging people in an atmosphere of trust, transparency and truth. It’s about sharing, helping & engaging rather than shouting and selling & clicking.

Keep the provocative and great thinking coming.

Hank Wasiak


May 21, 2010 Daryl Woods

Great comment Hank and exactly what’s been going through my mind for the last hour. It’s all a bit more clear now.


May 21, 2010 Shannon Paul

Hank – I really like your metaphor of people representing the connective tissue of a company (people beyond just customers). I think the past methodologies (although still prevalent) treated people as interchangeable parts, second to technology, data, products, branding, etc.

The people piece makes social media seem messy and immeasurable, but when you start aligning the social presence with the other marketing disciplines, rather than something separate; not only does it make the marketing more effective, but makes the purpose of the business clear to others (including search engines).

There is absolute merit in each of the disciplines — new and old. When marketing activities are siloed, each may seem to fail, but my theory is that individual failures happen because of a lack of harmony, not *necessarily* a lack of merit in any single approach.

The benefit of integration is, if you’re right, you’re really right. Of course the flip side is if you’re wrong, you’re really wrong. The big hope is that failure comes fast and the team learns quickly.

Thanks so much for stopping by and making me think :)


May 22, 2010 Hank Wasiak

Thanks Shannon & Daryl. Great point Shannon about treating people as interchangeable parts and appendages to the other methodologies. Not so now.



May 21, 2010 Aaron Hughling

Love this article Shannon!

However, where is the magical place where everyone is on the same page?





May 21, 2010 david scacco

Great post. Having spent 7+ yrs at Google and now developing a new social/word-of-mouth ad platform (www.mylikes.com), I’ve seen work this firsthand. Thx!


May 21, 2010 Shannon Paul

Sweet validation! Thanks, David. Best of luck with MyLikes. I will check it out.


May 24, 2010 Mark Wallace


Really insightful suggestions and points about how many of us simply skip a step and search via Google after we are influenced to find out more. I like your measurement of branded keyword search recommendation too.

I would like to post this as a reference on commonground (commonground.edrnet.com) as it answers questions many of our members have. Please let me know if you have any issue with that.



May 24, 2010 Shannon Paul

Thanks, Mark – Please feel free to post this as a reference. I’m always appreciative when people want to share my work as long as there is attribution — and a link is always nice, too :-)

I’m glad you found this helpful!


May 24, 2010 Lori Taylor

Shannon, this blog is spot on. I appreciate you addressing the importance of integrating relevant search terms into all copy. I usually use google adwords. What do you use to find hot keywords?



May 24, 2010 Shannon Paul

Hi Lori – I also use Google’s keyword tool. BTW, they changed the location of this tool for some reason without a good redirect. Here’s where you can find it now: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__u=1000000000&__c=1000000000&stylePrefOverride=2#search.none!ideaType=KEYWORD&requestType=IDEAS

SEO Book also has a keyword tool: http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/

Copyblogger has a really great list of keyword tools located here: http://www.copyblogger.com/keyword-research-tools/

Thanks for stopping by – I hope this helps :-)


May 24, 2010 Pablo Edwards

Shannon- Thanks for the ideas. I like how you are combining Social Media with other outlets in paid advertising. I don’t think that it can exist independently and apart from them, and I think you do a great job of showing that, but also eight great ways to work it out.


May 29, 2010 David Abbott

I’m puzzled about your recommendation of Flickr. As I understand their terms, Flickr is exclusively for non-commercial use only. And seems to take a hard-line stance on anything resembling advertising. Am I being too literal?


May 31, 2010 Shannon Paul

David – I’m glad you asked the question. I’m not implying companies should literally advertise by posting the graphics from their display ads, but I am saying they should post them there for the purposes of sharing images from their display campaigns.

For example, a display campaign images on Flickr would be embeddable and shareable from Flickr under a Creative Commons license. The description on Flickr could possibly also link to the landing page for the campaign as long as it is an informational page and not a sales page, and should also be tagged with keywords that would help that person search for the actual landing page for the campaign (If it’s still under way).

Sharing images associated with commercial entities is not necessarily “commercial use,” but selling images posted to Flickr is — this is the primary reason for the non-commercial use rule — they do not want people posting photos with the intention of selling them via Flickr (like a stock photo site). Although, for the record, many professional photographers and graphic designers have Flickr profiles for brand building purposes.

Sharing images of an advertisement isn’t necessarily advertising, but does give people access to images for use in other online publications and blogs, and could lend a small hand in building relevance for SEO purposes.

Does this make sense?


June 7, 2010 adsense alternatives

Great ideas here! I’ll be interested in reading the continuation.


July 8, 2010 Seospidy

Awesome article , very Interesting and useful for my business campaign Which we are going to start soon…..


July 9, 2010 Samir

These are all great tips that can be implemented quickly and cheaply. Thanks for this, I’m looking forward to the next one!

Having a solid brand on each and every online presence seems to be key.


April 25, 2011 amex blue sky

I can’t wait for MW3 to come out for DS!


May 13, 2011 Kris

Thanks..you have a great post and i like it.


November 23, 2011 Cayleigh Parker

You truly did help bring us all together! I recently read a great post by Andrew Hunt about how to drive actual revenue from social media for B2B companies, Is Your B-2-B Social Media Strategy Full of B.S.?, check it out (http://www.inboundsales.net/blog/bid/48273/Is-Your-B-2-B-Social-Media-Strategy-Full-of-B-S).


November 23, 2011 Cayleigh Parker

Thanks for your time and energy invested into this blog! I recently read a great post by Andrew Hunt about how to drive actual revenue from social media for B2B companies, Is Your B-2-B Social Media Strategy Full of B.S.?, check it out (http://www.inboundsales.net/blog/bid/48273/Is-Your-B-2-B-Social-Media-Strategy-Full-of-B-S).


December 11, 2011 James19

Tralatitious advertising gets a lot of disapproval in the interpersonal media type. Umteen say ads don’t pass anymore on an progressively apprehend interview.

“Online Advertising”


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