Representatives from more than twenty-five agencies, brand advertisers, and social media companies are joining to form the Social Media Advertising Council (SMAC(TM)), an industry association designed to set the first standards for buying and measuring marketing in social media. Tom Gerace, CEO of social network Gather and Founding Chairman of SMAC, announced the creation of the Council on the eve of the OMMA Expo in New York City on Wednesday.
The goal of SMAC is to create a common vocabulary, standard buying units and uniform measurement methods for marketing within social media. As social network advertising revenues hit an estimated $1.825 billion in 2009, out of a total online advertising market of $30 billion in the U.S. (eMarketer, May 2008,) there is an urgent need among social media buyers and their clients to understand how to quantify and value engagement and exposure on social networks.
In addition to Gerace, SMAC founding members include industry leaders Stuart Bogaty, EVP Global Managing Partner of Universal McCann, James Kiernan, VP Group Director of MediaVest Worldwide, Don Epperson, CEO of Havas Digital, Torrence Boone, CEO of Enfatico and Tom Meyer, President of Davie Brown, and Jackie Price, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing of Edelman as well as top industry experts including Allen Weiner, Research Vice President of Gartner’s Media Industry Advisory Service and TS Kelly, VP Media Research at Quantcast. Additional representatives include executives from 33Across Inc, BzzAgent, W2 Group and Zinio.
Along with traditional brand advertising, social media sites permit new methods of brand engagement with consumers. “Brands are spending more and more of their media dollars on social networks. We now need standard buying units, methods of measurement, and a common understanding of what we mean when we say engagement on sites like Facebook, Myspace and Gather,” said Tom Gerace, CEO of Gather & Founding Chairman of SMAC. “For example, a brand’s engagement might include 500 conversations featuring one product, which in turn cascades to close to a million impressions through friend feeds. How do we measure and value that for our advertisers? How do we talk about that kind of engagement?”
SMAC will operate as a not-for-profit organization formed by the industry to set these standards. “The response we’ve gotten from all across the industry has been incredible,” said Gerace. “This enthusiasm points to how critical the need is to find a common language, as social media grows as a critical marketing component for brand advertisers.”