Why Social Media is Leading Digital Marketing in 2017

By: David Abrams, Valley Digital Services



For years Heineken has been talking about how it wants to create a new standard for creativity in digital marketing and now they are taking steps to make good on their promises. Originally adopting a strict “creative ladder” system to rate their advertisements on a scale from 1 to 10, now they are planning to double their digital advertising spending by 2020. The move is in anticipation of the increasing rise of mobile e-commerce. With reports from last year showing that 80 percent of social media use is accessed through a mobile device, clearly there is plenty of reason to see why social media is leading digital marketing in 2017.

Heineken is not the only alcohol brand looking to expand into digital marketing in a significant way. Bacardi has shifted a quarter of its marketing budget from TV to digital marketing with social media. In fact, Bacardi is adopting a very similar rigorously creative ad campaign as Heineken, involving specialized Snapchat filters that turn users into hanging bats (the Bacardi logo) and virtual turntables to create a very interactive promotional experience for their consumers, all available through social media. Heineken has been reluctant to move into Snapchat since they believed the audience to be predominantly too young for alcohol advertising. However, now 75% of Snapchat users are reportedly of drinking age, so Heineken is planning to engage them on the platform.

Their timing could not be better since social media is more popular than ever with Facebook now holding 1.79 billion users. Social Times reports that 86% of U.S. adults use social media and Smart Insights is showing that 93 % of millennials are using social media on a regular basis. Therefore, it is no surprise that digital marketers want to get as much money out of it as they can.

In fact, while most traffic that comes to your website is from organic search, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get results from organic traffic on social media. That’s because social media, like Facebook and Instagram, want to make money on the exposure you can get on their platform. Since 2014 Facebook has even gone so far as to penalize pages that publish posts into the organic feed that are designed to incentivize customers to make a purchase, install an app or participate in a promotion. These and consistently restrictive alterations to their algorithm make it practically impossible to achieve any results from social media advertising without making an investment into an ad campaign.

Due to the competitive nature of social media ad prices, over time that exposure has only become more expensive. Research from eMarketer indicates that spending on social media advertising has risen by more than 33% since last year. Further, this article from CNBC reports that media technology company 4C found that brands spent 65% more on social media advertising specifically for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

If you are wondering whether the cost is worth it, just ask Heineken. In August of last year Heineken Light reached 54% of their audience in just three days after using video ads on Facebook, proving the value you can gain from paid social media advertising. With that kind of potential value to be gained, clearly social media is an advertising platform that is not only here to stay but also growing with each year that passes. However, now that paid advertising on social media is the only truly valuable way to promote yourself or your business on social media, the potential audience is not as easy to access as it has been in the past. Building a brand and advertising it online is an ongoing creative process, but a process that is very worthwhile in the end. If you were wondering how to break into social media advertising, this is a great time to start and you came to the right place! Fill out the form on our Contact Us page to get started promoting your business on social media the right way.

Valley Digital Services

Valley Digital Services is a cooperative effort of WFMJ-TV and The Vindicator. As family-owned and operated local companies, we have been helping local businesses for decades in the valley reach customers and are an integral part of the community we serve.

As the way we communicate changes, so do we. Valley Digital Services is here to help guide local businesses through the constantly changing digital landscape and offer services to access the local audience in a variety of new ways.

Valley Digital Services offers a full suite of digital marketing options such as website design, search engine optimization, social media and reputation management and targeted online advertising campaigns. We create custom marketing campaigns for our local clients and can provide cross-platform marketing utilizing our television and print partners.

Valley Digital Services delivers creative solutions to connect customers with brands, anywhere, anytime. Although the tools have changed, it’s what we have been doing for almost 150 years.

Valley Digital Services is a proud sponsor of DOYO Live 2017!



DOYO Live is a digital marketing and interactive design conference being held on August 3, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. This is one of the premier marketing conference in Ohio and Greater Pittsburgh Area. We are dedicated to the ongoing education of marketing, sales, business and design professionals through our online assets, in-person workshops and annual conference.