Paid social media advertising tools have transitioned from a novelty to a nice-to-have to a must-have in our modern age of digital marketing.
The whole aim of digital marketing is to get your messages in front of the right audiences. You also typically want your audience members to take actions that send them deeper into your marketing funnel.
Social media has some pretty huge audiences worth putting your messages in front of. 69% of all U.S. adults use social media, which equals over 200 million Americans. Among the younger 18-29 year old generation, that number floats to a mind-boggling 86%.
Using paid advertising tools on popular social media platforms can therefore earn you a huge amount of reach, especially when compared to rapidly declining organic (unpaid) reach. Combine that power with other distinct advantages such as razor-sharp targeting abilities, and businesses of all sizes can add a powerful tool to their digital marketing arsenals.
To help you understand why paid social media advertising is worth your time and why you should dedicate at least some of your marketing budget to it in 2018, consider the following information.
Social Media Advertising Provides Distinct Advantages Over Organic Posts
As a quick primer, social media advertising differs from the social activities all businesses and people are given for free.
The biggest difference is that organic (free) content displays according to an algorithm. This algorithm picks and chooses content to put on people’s newsfeeds. In order for organic content to earn a spot on someone’s newsfeed, it must be posted by the person’s chosen friends/followed pages and directly related to their interests.
In other words, someone has to directly “like” or “follow” your business page in order to be eligible to see your social posts. And, for reasons we’ll soon get into, they only have a tiny sliver of a chance at seeing your business page’s organic posts compared to their own friend’s organic posts.
But paid ads have a high chance of showing up on everyone’s social screens. These odds improve even more if you focus your targeting on local areas, specific demographics or low-competition categories.
There are two main types of paid social advertising:
- Native or “promoted” posts, which look identical to a normal piece of social media content shown on newsfeeds but get shown to far more people compared to organic reach
- Banner ads, usually placed on the sides of content or other designated areas
Most ads (83% on desktop and 79% on mobile) use the first option for Facebook and Instagram, while the second option is more popular on LinkedIn.
Now that you have a clear understanding of how paid social differs and how people tend to use it, let’s get into the biggest benefits it provides.
It’s the Only Way to Get Reach Since Social Media’s Organic Reach Plummeted
When Facebook announced its Pages feature for businesses, all sorts of business owners were thrilled that their content could get shown on potentially millions of people’s newsfeeds.
But over time, the likelihood of seeing a business page’s posts compared to a friend’s posts dropped dramatically. Since January 2017, the number of people who saw business Page posts declined 20%.
Facebook also has toyed with plans for getting rid of Page reach entirely on the main news feed, and for many business owners, it feels like this has already happened.
But paid social ads don’t have to display according to the complex and increasingly unfair organic newsfeed algorithms. Instead, you get offered ad inventory based on your settings, and if your bid wins over someone else’s, you get placement right within someone’s main newsfeed or given inventory slots.
This practically guaranteed placement is far less frustrating than trying to rig organic algorithms in your favor. Paid ads also work just as well for marketing that used to be the sole domain of organic, unpaid posts — like brand awareness or content promotion — as they do for specific offers and campaigns.
Paid Social Advertising Provides Useful, Advanced Targeting Capabilities
Using paid social ads not only increases your reach, it allows you to strategically focus that reach on high-value segments.
For instance, if you offer a line of high-end designer dresses, you probably don’t want to show ads to teenage boys who make less than $10k a year. With ad targeting, you can not only select women but also women who make a certain amount per year, who live in certain neighborhoods near a retail location and who also have behavior signals that indicate they love fashionable handbags.
Facebook is the king of targeted posts thanks to their huge user base and highly specific targeting tools. According to Hubspot, “Facebook offers some of the most powerful, innovative and advanced ad units and targeting.” They also commend the platform for its ease of use.
Since Instagram uses the same platform as Facebook, you can spread your campaign across multiple channels with minimal effort.
LinkedIn offers similarly potent capabilities for B2B vendors. Since you can filter by job title, industry, company position and other career-specific parameters, you can find the perfect key stakeholder or gatekeeper to serve your ads to and work them into your marketing funnel.
Best of all, the data generated from these campaigns can make them more effective over time. For instance, you can create data through A/B testing about what offers work better for certain demographics or what creative drives a high CTR (click-through rate) in general.
High Return on Investment
When it comes to lead generation and marketing conversions, social media advertising can generate an extremely low cost per lead (CPL) or cost per action (CPA). These actions can lead to an eventual purchase, generating revenue and paying for the money you invested in social ads.
According to a survey by Smart Insights, 53% of businesses found substantial ROI and 17% found “highest ROI” through paid social advertising.
These returns have inspired a flurry of investment in paid social. Global ad spending on social platforms almost doubled between 2014 and 2016, increasing from $16 billion to nearly $32 billion. In 2017, experts predict that spending on social ads increased 26% overall.
Adopt a Strategy for Effective Paid Social Media Marketing in 2018
Companies of all sizes are interested in paid social media because it works. Unfortunately, not every company is able to measure ROI (return on investment) effectively or structure its campaigns in a productive, goal-oriented way. Working with an agency that specializes in social media marketing and has a proven portfolio of social media advertising experience is the way to go when it comes to paid ads.
The money you spend with on an agency’s services are easily recouped as they can guide your campaigns strategically, produce effective content for them and manage them from end-to-end. Flying solo on paid ads is much like gambling, you’ll throw away a lot of money without any guarantee of a winning ad campaign.
Who We Are:
Optimized Scribes is a social media marketing agency that works with clients of all sizes to strategically leverage the power of social media advertising. In addition to social media, OS offers website design, content marketing, and search engine optimization services with affordable packages that deliver results.