The Content Network: A Poor Man’s Portal to Social Networks

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My mother always told me, “When I was your age, we didn’t have 100 channels on our television or Super Nintendos to play Tecmo Bowl all night instead of doing your homework. Stop playing Marble Madness on the Tandy 1000 and let’s watch In Living Color.”

Where have the good ol’ days gone, you ask? We have consumed them.

We indulge ourselves in the newest music, movies, websites and technologies at a dizzying rate and then discard all of it for what is even newer; the newest of these crazes being social networks.

Every day, there are new articles depicting how “(insert company name) is finally ready to appear on a social network and establish their presence to millions of users,” which, behind the scenes, is more like a four-year-old being reluctantly dragged to his first day of school. Much success has been built, however, by companies willing to wade into the sea of teenage angst and middle-aged reunions.

Content ads on social networks are the easiest and most inexpensive opportunity available for companies to enter the Web 2.0 machine. As a Paid Search Marketer, I have seen many high-quality conversions and sales come from the Google Content Network’s existence on MySpace. With such a wide demographic and topical reach, it’s simple for most advertisements to find relevant positions on that website.

Having a presence on social websites, even just through the content network, is integral in maintaining a coherent and active online marketing campaign. Google connects you to MySpace, MSN is partnered with Facebook, and Yahoo positions you on Bebo. Where else will your product be matched with relevant subject matter and displayed to a befitting audience cheaply?

Of course there are hazards. That’s marketing. Social networks are a low click-through, low converting effort; this is a well-known fact. It is also important to test your ROI potential before diving chum first into the shark tank. But when done correctly, the advertisements become an extensive branding vehicle that creates an open door for a brand new demographic.

MySpace is still the most visited social network, but with Facebook and Bebo hot on its trail, as well as numerous up-and-coming niche communities, there is no reason not to stay on the cutting edge of the Web 2.0 wave and reap some benefits.

We consume new products quickly because we all want to say that we discovered something, that we were there in the beginning when it was cool, not later when everybody else is using it. Let your customers see you where cool is now, residing confidently on a social network.

Now that I am an antiquated Generation X’er, I look forward to telling my children, “When I was your age, we didn’t have 900 channels on the TV or personal laptop computers to watch YouTube videos of skateboarding dogs. Log off of Facebook so that we can download the newest Jim Carrey movie.”

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