Social media advertising is big. Businesses forked out over £24 BILLION on their social media advertising budgets throughout 2016, doubling from the £12 billion budget in 2014.
There’s no doubt you’ve seen paid adverts before, whether you knew they were ads or not – how about that ‘no win, no fee’ PPI claim a promoted Twitter post is certain you’re entitled to? Or that pair of shoes you were considering buying that have creepily popped up in your Facebook feed? (more on that later).
So what makes marketers go wild for social media ads, and how can you get in on this low-cost form of advertising? Take a look at the most common social media advertising platforms, and how you can effectively utilise them as part of your marketing strategy.
Paid Advertising on Facebook
Around 1.8 billion people use Facebook every month, making the reach of advertising on the platform huge for businesses. Facebook’s advertising functionalities have come a long way since page owners were first given the functionality to set up and manage their own adverts in 2009.
Here’s an example of a successful Facebook advertising test campaign, at just £0.14 per engagement or £0.23 when looking specifically at the cost per link click, this advert proved itself to be a cheaper alternative to the businesses’ PPC campaign, which averaged £0.77 per click.
Additionally, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has given businesses further potential to push their posts out through another platform, with around 500 million using the app monthly this platform is perfect for anyone wanting to advertise their products or services with images such as jewellery, clothes and electronics.
How Does Facebook Advertising Know What Sites I’ve Visited?
Going back to my point in the opening paragraph of this post, you might have noticed certain items or businesses ‘following’ you around Facebook after viewing them on another site.
On your desktop, these posts will generally appear in your news feed as a ‘suggested post’ or on the right-hand side of your feed. On your mobile, these ads will appear in your news feed
For example, I recently saw an advert on TV for the new Philips OneBlade razor, after looking it up on their website I decided against buying it. When scrolling through my news feed on my phone the next morning, look what shows up:
This neat little trick is achieved with the implementation of the Facebook ‘Pixel’, a piece of code that sits in the header of your website and tracks visitors, allowing you to target them with ads later, this is called ‘retargeting’. The pixel offers several other functionalities including:
- Creation of custom audiences, allowing targeting of users who visited specified pages.
- Measuring of users behaviour once they return to your website.
- Measuring conversions with the use of further custom pixels.
- Tracking events such as abandoned shopping carts and newsletter sign ups.
Paid Advertising on Twitter
Twitter Ads took off in 2010 with ‘promoted tweets’ allowing businesses to pay to have their tweet appear in people’s Twitter feeds where it wouldn’t necessarily organically. There are now 4 main ways to advertise on Twitter:
Website Cards – These ‘cards’ appear in user’s Twitter feeds and allow the advertiser to promote a web URL along with a picture and accompanying text, placing their ad in amongst a user’s Twitter feed:
Promoted Accounts – This form of advertising allows users to advertise their account in order to grow their follower base – using this form of advertising will place your account as a sponsored option under the ‘who to follow’ tab.
Promoted Trends – to get on the Hashtag Hype, Twitter now enables users to sponsor a hashtag that will then appear at the top of the ‘trending’ tab, regardless of how popular it has been organically. This is a great way to raise awareness for a brand as well as promote new products or events.
Promoted Tweets – As mentioned, promoted Tweets were the first method of advertising on Twitter, and are still around today placing your tweet in amongst a user’s Twitter feed:
Twitter advertising allows the targeting of demographics including age, location and interests. But is not yet as advanced as Facebook’s advertising system.
Paid Advertising on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the lesser used platform out of the ones mentioned in this post but with over 500 million active users, can be extremely effective. LinkedIn prides itself on being a network for ‘professionals’ and can be a wholesome platform for B2B advertisers targeting decision makers in other businesses as well as openly recruit relevant professionals based on their skills. Here are the main methods of advertising on LinkedIn:
Sponsored InMail – This allows users to send other users ‘sponsored messages’ which appear at the top of the user’s inbox regardless of whether you are a connection or not – this approach gives advertising a very personal edge, but can also be perceived as invasive or spam.
Sponsored Content – Much like Facebook’s sponsored posts and Twitter’s sponsored Tweets, this form of paid content allows users to place paid content into other users newsfeeds where it may not appear organically. In addition to this, there are sponsored text ads, which appear as below without the option to feature an image.
Sponsored Banner Ads – As shown below, these ads allow you to advertise in the top banner of your target audience’s newsfeeds, either as a text banner or with accompanying image.
Should I Ditch Traditional Pay Per Click In Favour Of Social Media Advertising?
We recommend keeping a mix of both. Platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads present paid results to users based on keywords (what they search) meaning you can make the assumption that the user is interested or looking to find out more about what they query.
In addition to this, some businesses will just naturally struggle to make an impact on social media, whether it’s because their target audience doesn’t use it – or it’s a business that just doesn’t appeal to people through social media:
For example, an accountancy may use PPC to promote their services, knowing that every click they receive is likely to be relevant.
When it comes to social media marketing, the accountant may struggle to sell their services, unless creating engaging content specifically for social media.
Win At Social Media With All Things Web®
We’ve only scratched the surface with Social Media Advertising within this post, there’s a whole range of other handy features designed to help you reach your target audience through social media.