Social media has become ingrained in many of our lives, with a Nielsen report stating that one out of every seven people in the world have a Facebook page, and that nearly four in five active internet users visit blogs and social networks.
Facebook users visit the platform to share with their friends and networks what they did for the day, what they plan on doing, where they have been and what they like (or dislike), with advertisers seeing social media sites as an opportunity to entice and engage consumers.
According to a survey report by Nielsen company Vizu, paid social media advertising is growing, with three-quarters of advertisers surveyed saying that they use this platform.
The report, Paid social media advertising: Industry update and best practices 2013, also found that over half of advertisers (64 per cent) said they were increasing their paid social media advertising budgets in 2013.
Vizu notes that the term social media marketing refers to two practices involving social media, one of which is to use free tools such as Twitter and Facebook and the other is to use paid media such as by sponsoring blog content or buying ads on Facebook.
The report indicated that a large majority of advertisers (89 per cent) employed these free social media tools, with paid advertising following close behind (75 per cent).
Agencies were also big users of paid social media advertising with 81 per cent of those surveyed adopting the practice, though only 71 per cent said that they had used free tools.
Paid social media advertising is "increasingly being viewed as an integrated tactic", states Vizu, with over half of advertisers (66 per cent) saying they use paid social media advertising in combination with other online advertising, and 51 per cent indicating that they run it in conjunction with offline advertising.