Someone once said, “social media advertising is not effective” via Twitter. The irony surrounding social media has to be my favorite thing about social media. Everyone hates it, or so they say, but everyone uses it in one way or another. Whether it’s my mother, who is too afraid of getting her identity stolen so she scrolls through my Facebook timeline instead, or Donald Trump, who utterly hates social media, but finds that tweeting is the most effective way to get his point across.
Beyond irony, social media tends to be an enigma of sorts. So, between the irony and the mystery, social media advertising is more effective than the average person would want to believe. Before we wade into the depths of this article, I want to give you some context on why this article came about. Marketing Supply Co. is a digital agency that truly specializes in social media advertising. As you can imagine, a lot of our discussions often center around social media advertising. Recently, our office was discussing the question, “keeping in mind that we work in social advertising, does it work on us?”. In other words, are those of us who understand the algorithms and the tactics and the strategies behind social advertising, still susceptible to its efforts? In short, yes was the overall consensus. Keep reading to find out why!
When social media platforms first erupted, most people thought of them as a trend that would fizzle out as quickly as it came. Well, nearly a decade has passed, and if you found this article on Facebook, then there is your answer to how true that belief was. Not only is social media not just a passing trend, it continues to grow and evolve as one of the top methods of communicating in our society. Because social media platforms continue to evolve, so do our methods for advertising on social media. Now compare this to traditional advertising which has ultimately gone unchanged since the Mad Men era.
This the aspect of social media advertising that really gets me. It’s when I see the items I saved to my cart on Nordstrom.com mysteriously pop up on the sidebar of my Facebook newsfeed. Like I said, I WORK IN SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING AND I’M STILL SUCKED IN. It’s like working in a fast food restaurant. You know exactly how long those nuggets have been frozen, and yet, you still crave them. It makes no sense, but that is the pure genius behind algorithms like Facebook’s. They expose you to things you have not only considered purchasing but as they get to know your online habits, they can target you with products/services that align with your wants and needs. Now, imagine having no idea what cookies are and seeing the exact same items you were looking at on Target.com on Facebook. You might be slightly freaked out, but more than that, you are intrigued.
While this was not the case even five years ago, with tools like Google Campaign Builder—which allows you to build UTM parameters, reporting dashboards that are built into social media platforms, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and the like, companies can see the ROI from social media advertising. Seriously, from a blog post shared on Facebook all the way to adding an item to a virtual shopping cart, with the ever-evolving tools available to digital agencies and companies, seeing the actual effects of social media advertising has never been easier. Maybe I’m biased, but you can’t get this type of insight with a commercial played during Modern Family (traditional advertisers can blame Hulu for that one).
The targeting methods available to social media advertisers go hand-in-hand with social media algorithms that already exist in the space. With any type of targeting, a lot of research on your audience is required, but unlike other advertising platforms like television or print, once you have compiled all of your research, social media advertising makes it easy to input and implement audience research. Whether you are focused on targeting by demographic or targeting by interest, the options are endless when compared to more traditional forms of audience targeting. Check out this article we wrote on targeting your audience on Facebook for tips on how to get started here.
Everyone knows that money (budget) is the deal breaker for most marketing strategies. While it’s common knowledge that social advertising is cheaper than traditional advertising, this also means that your budget has more room for testing to see what works. Here’s some perspective: Your create a Superbowl commercial. The ad spot alone costs millions, and that doesn’t even take into account the money needed to pay actors, set designers, etc. Keeping in mind that most Superbowl commercials are more of a status symbol than an advertisement, imagine if you put even half of that budget behind social media ads. You would likely get the same exposure, but with a more targeted audience, and the opportunity to test out what actually works.