UK Advertising Agencies not Enthusiastic about Embracing Social Media

United Kingdom Advertising

According to a recent IPA Report Social Media Key to Continued Online Ad Growth many UK agencies are not ready to fully embrace social media. This could negatively impact the revenue growth for these companies in the next decade.

IPA interviewed 100 IPA member agencies for this report, over a period of 18 months of intense study, workshops and seminars, and only a third of these is “ready and waiting”, prepared for a business landscape dominated by social media. 95% of respondents consider that by 2016 brand messages will be passed informally from one person to another, while 90% agree that some Internet companies will be built entirely on messages passes from individual to individual through the social networks.

There’s a revolution in the air that’s transforming society. It’s social networking and it’s empowering the consumer; but the majority of agencies aren’t getting it. The ad industry must get to grips with this changing marketplace over the next decade or it could face growth of only 1.2% per year by 2016.

In our opinion a growth of 1.2% per year by 2016 is a very optimistic prognostic. Considering that the popularity of the social media attracts more and more businesses online the assertion “you’re online or you’re dead” applies for many businesses. An advertising agency that ignores the fact is doomed to fail – especially because the Web opens the gates for international competition. While traditional advertising still works, especially in small, local communities, adopting new advertising channels is a necessity. There shouldn’t be any “waiting” – the time to act is now.

IPA suggests that innovation and creativity will be key to enabling brand communications within the social media.

“Brands will have to earn the right to be in this space. Success will be measured by the degree to which a brand is allowed to blend in with the conversations that are going on, with or without it,” the report says.

The community is waiting to witness innovation and creativity: site ads, pop-ups and text link ads simply do not work as they used to. The social media obviously opens new communication methods and limitless business opportunities, but shameless self promotion is not the ticket either. If advertising agencies will embrace the social media, will they also be able to do it unobtrusively or will they cause a “backlash greater than that of pop-up ads a few years ago”, as Jim Nail pondered the other day in an article at PRSA?

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