What Social.com taught us about buying brand ads on social media
Social advertising is the hottest topic in advertising right now. Its impact is immense, and is forecasted to grow even more in the next 3-4 years. SalesForce reports that by 2017, the market will float around $11B worth of spending. That’s some serious advertising cash – and that’s in the U.S. alone.
This means it’s time for brands, both big and little, to strategize and capitalize on the power of social advertising. The customers are there; people are spending their time on social media, particularly on mobile (30% of the time spent on social media is on mobile, and those numbers continue to grow).
Ads are made for people AND created by people on social. As brands, we have the learn how to optimize what content is and can be created to deliver an effective message and call-to-action for our audiences. This sector of advertising is not aggressive like TV; it actually fits in with the way people absorb content on social media.
Facebook and Twitter have expanded their advertising options to suit budgets and goals. According to SalesForce and Social.com, here are the best ways to approach campaign creation and accomplishing your goals.
To begin: Determine your goals
The goals for social ads typically are:
- Grow fans or followers
- Distribute Content: videos, photos, items that live on the feeds of the network
- Direct Response: e-commerce, app downloads, etc
But how do you set up your ads for success? Social has so many opportunities that making a choice can seem daunting. Here are some tips to set up your ads for success:
Content is king
Within social networks, you have access to a massive amount of data, charting your content’s effectiveness and how well it resonates with your audience. Promote and push the content that IS working. If you’ve got good content to push, then ultimately you’re a winner.
Look at the success of previous posts and promote the ones with a high amount of ‘likes’ or comments. Know that photos and videos work better than text-heavy posts, and focus on spending money to promote your original content, such as infographics, in-house videos, podcasts, etc.
Put your campaigns to the test. Assign funds to several ads and target groups in the beginning, and after one week or so, take a look at what is working.
Don’t go crazy; granular, but not too granular. Use any existing customer data you have to determine audiences and key demographics.
What is a good amount of ‘granular’?
If you have a light-up cooler similar to Coleman, targeting an audience that ‘likes’ Wal-Mart, camping, and is male would probably be ideal.
But if you have a durable, army-colored $200 cooler, targeting an audience that ‘likes’ Cabela’s, hunting, fishing, and are males over 30 would be ideal.
Lastly, if you have a fold-up cooler that weighs less than competitors, targeting an audience that ‘likes’ REI, hiking, and camping would be ideal.
Think about Placement
With Facebook, remember that the click through & engagement rate is 3x higher when you place an ad in the Newsfeed. Considering mobile use, our recommendation is to stick with the middle of page on Facebook; not to say other types of ads aren’t effective, though.
With Twitter, there is a higher engagement rate (greater than 3%) when you target ads specifically on mobile.
TIP: Video views don’t work well on mobile, but they work well on desktop.
Choosing the appropriate ways your ad content is delivered to your audience is imperative. You have several options when targeting audiences and paying for their responses. A few of those include:
- CPC: Cost per Click (pay every time someone clicks on your ad)
- CPA: Cost per Action (only pay for the action you want to get, such as likes, and no other engagement)
- CPM: This is Facebook exclusive and you pay for impressions. Facebook will optimize your ad to show to the people who are most likely to help you meet your goal.
Twitter allows you to target on specific phone devices, desktops, laptops, and web on smartphones and tablets.
Thinking about what content you’re advertising and what kind of reaction you want from it is the most important aspect of targeting. When determining the audience, Facebook gives you a multitude of targeting and segmentation options, from demographics to custom interests, their pre-determined broad categories, lookalike audiences, and more. The two key factors to keep in mind when selecting audiences are:
- Keep them focused, but not too focused. Again, using any existing data you have in order to determine the most applicable audience for your promotion is a smart way to target.
- Test, test, test: Can’t stress it enough. The best way to find what works is to eliminate what doesn’t. Test different keywords, audiences/interests, and interaction options.
First time ad buyers: use the audience you already know is on social media and just target them in your first round of ads. If you know your customer base is females over 50 that live in Reno and love knitting, crafting, etc, then target only those to start with, and forget going after 20-somethings that have a much slimmer chance of interacting with your brand.
B2B: your potential clients and customers all work somewhere, right? Or a company you’re looking to set a meeting with has multiple employees that have Facebook profiles, correct? You can target by workplace and receive positive attention from the company’s personnel by sending them specific and applicable content through ads.
Use right metrics to measure success
Make sure you are collecting and analyzing your ad campaign data to see if it’s working for you.
The great thing with online advertising is you can track it in real time. No need to fork over $1,000 upfront and cross your fingers that it’s going to be successful. Because of this, monitoring is huge. You need to watch your ads daily and adjust as necessary to make sure your advertising campaign is successful. Each platform has its own advertising monitoring interface so you can keep track of the results on there. You’ll know if your advertising campaign is successful by creating your own metrics to measure by:
- Are you trying to drive online sales? Then you’d better make sure you are using ads that drive people off Facebook and Twitter and convert into off-site sales. If this is the case, measure how much money you are spending on the advertising campaign based on how much money you are making in sales. This will show you your ROI and you can decrease or increase your spending as necessary. If the ads are not generating any traffic, you might want to consider changing the copy or design of the ad.
- Are you trying to increase your fans or followers? The same goes for increasing your audience. How much is 1,000 fans worth to you? Put a price on it and follow the same methodology as #1.
- Are you attempting to make a video go viral? Make sure you’re using desktop options more than mobile.
The key is to experiment. The opportunity social provides is incredible, but your must have some time to invest in the process and understanding of social ads. The best part of social ads is that they can user generated, too! You get to pick what content works and who sees it when spending your money. That’s the new wave of advertising and it’s a process worth investigating and investing in.
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