On a weekend where Manchester City became only the 5th team to lift the Premier League Trophy, the morality around buying success has never been more prevalent. With the millions of pounds on display, it’s clear that even if money hadn’t prevailed, it at least brought entertainment.However, the parallel of money in football, and money in social media are quite clear.
Think of the events of the past month and it becomes clear that for services that are free, money has a big part to play. Facebook’s $1billion Instagram takeover; Zynga’s $200million buyout of Draw Something inventors, OMGPOP; the ability to pay to ensure your Facebook post is seen by everyone; and the topic of how Twitter needs to look at how it can monetize its service to avoid being bought out itself are all signs of how commercialism is trying to take over social media.
People are also starting to ask if organic search can compete with paid advertising, and although this subject is an essay in itself, it makes for a great battle between quality and cost. Personally, I ignore the paid for ads on Google. We all know why they are there, but this a question of whether money talks. I’d choose organic search everyday, it’s there because people have visited the site in their droves, instantly validating my decision to follow the link. I know this site has got to where it is because of its quality. Facebook and Twitter got to where they are because of the quality of service, not the money advertisers threw at it.
However, to discount the value of paid for advertising would be naive to say the least. On social media it doesn’t add value to the service which is why people have such a gripe with it. Of course there are brands that have done amazing things with social media to drive traffic and sales but at the end of the day, it’s all spikes and troughs, there’s no consistency. It’s crying out for someone to help brands to reach out to consumers, and actually make paid advertising worth their while. Money talks, but only if someone is going to listen.
So is this a case of the underdog buying success. City lived in the shadows of Manchester United for 60 years, and now they are finally on top.
Some will always say that in the case of Manchester City that money did buy success. I’d disagree. It’s a facet, no doubt, but at the end of the day it came down to execution. The task for social media is how to turn this money into success - but we’ve been searching for this Holy Grail for a few years now… so where is social media’s Roberto Mancini… and will they deliver what everyone is crying out for?
For advertisers, spending high on social media will no doubt get you seen, create noise and help you reach a new audience. Manchester City’s expenditure draws huge similarities with Facebook’s takeover of Instagram. The rich owner can now change the fate of the underdog, but in order to be a true success, what you do with that money will be the real measure. Following the underdog’s success at the weekend, all eyes are on the future of Instagram in the social premier league.