3 Ways to Overcome Challenges of Monetizing On-air and Off-air Interactions

Revenue is always the core objective for every business; it sits at the top of food chain. Whether you’re a media company gathering content to drive sponsorship or a brand hungry to drive sales, the ultimate goal is the same: driving revenue.

Last week, Spredfast hosted a webinar: Monetizing On-air and Off-air Interactions. The speakers, Sabrina Zahn, VP, Creative Solutions at Spredfast, and Brian Foley, VP of Global Partnerships, shared their unique perspective along with three challenges in the monetization of social media. Watch the full webinar on-demand. Before we dive into the challenges of today, it’s important to remember the evolution of media. The pioneers of the industry—David Ogilvy & Disney—couldn’t have dreamed that one day there would be a way to identify customers who are actively looking for content and then actually deliver meaningful content to those customers in real time, organically inspiring precisely the action you seek.

There are a number of challenges facing the monetization of social media and we are in a unique position: we’re able to watch hundreds of the biggest organizations in the world formulate their respective strategies, teams and – conversely – address all of the challenges inherent to new media verticals. We now have a front row seat to watch innovators forever change the marketing landscape.

3 main challenges: Awareness, Value, & Redefinition


As Spredfast's Foley explained, awareness in this case is not the standard marketing objective we’ve come to know and love. Instead, it’s about being aware of how you communicate social internally, of the comprehension or comfort level of the person (or people) you’re talking to, and about strategically raising awareness about the power of social in order to gain the appropriate credibility so that it’s incorporated into the monetization wheel vs. living in an adjacent strategy. Here are three specific tips:

  • Know your audience: Don’t assume everyone knows the ins and outs of social media. Your end goal is to get social media a seat at the monetization table, so it’s critical to be able to read the room you’re in and explain how social can support existing campaigns in a very digestible way. Executives need to find social relatable. Relate social to areas they’re familiar with, such as digital advertising and production.
  • Realistic: Be realistic about the adoption rate of new technology. Social can change at the speed of light, but we’re not all going to be rocking VR headsets by the end of 2017. We’re not going to change overnight.
  • Go with the grain: The end goal is get social a seat at the monetization table. If you’re disruptive to what already exists; you’ll be viewed as a threat. You then won’t be brought into strategic conversations around monetization.


Social’s value is in gross misalignment, partly due to some of the same factors that are derived from the awareness challenge, but mostly due to a core misunderstanding about what it is—and repeatedly unfair or inaccurate comparisons.

  • Unfair comparisons: This big issue faces many social teams. Where value gets mixed up is when it gets compared unfairly. Don’t compare FB live to an established ad product that has been in the market. It lowers the monetization value through an unfavorably system of evaluation. The comparison of social video vs native video is fair.
  • Disproportionately regulated: With social, there is more regulation and caution with associated content than with other marketing assets. An example is outdoor marketing. In most cases, a lot of budget is put towards outdoor marketing, even though there is little data to support the return. It’s muscle memory. Social is viewed hypocritically when it comes to success and budget. Removing some of that muscle memory, in this case, is a good thing and can result in an uptick of monetization.
  • The value of audience insights + data: If all else fails, one undisputed area of value is that social can provide a monetization that extends beyond logos—social gives you insight into your audience and data. At any point, in real time, your audience is telling you what they want and how they feel. These insights can inform all content creation—not just social. As long as you have a real feel for your analytics in a consistent way and have placed audience at the center of your efforts, then you should be able to gain cross-departmental buy-in.


After looking at awareness and value, you must essentially hit the internal reset button on monetization and redefine it as more than just “logos on things.” Demand cross-channel consistency, challenge the way social is being sold with data to support those audiences and make sure to explain how cross-channel consistency (social + native) provides the best opportunity to maximize revenue. This is already happening organically—at a very slow pace—but it presents an excellent opportunity for the social team to own and produce results that will benefit the organization as well as the individuals championing for this redefinition.

Step back, take a strategic approach, support the existing model, and produce results. That’s how everyone in your organization will win, together.

Again, watch the full webinar here, on-demand.

August 15, 2016
Three Challenges of UGC — and How to Solve Them
August 16, 2016
6 Ways Small Businesses Go Big on Social
Jordan Zecher is a Senior Global Marketing Manager that leads Asia-Pacific marketing while partnering with sales to drive revenue in North America. A world traveler by hobby, and a cat lover from birth, she has more recently entered into a love/hate relationship with distance running.