Adding it up: the benefits of social advertising

As Facebook continues to deal with the backlash from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many sceptics believe they will ride the news agenda and once again come out on top. This would prove that, as it stands, social media is a force to be reckoned with, be that for good or bad. As the big three; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, continue to cement their foothold, businesses need to look for new ways to engage with users beyond a simple status update. Enter the dark world of social advertising.

By Chris Brown, account manager

For many businesses, social advertising is still an unexplored arena. Many deem it as a waste of money that you can’t see return on. This simply isn’t true. Take Facebook ads for example, launching in 2005, the channel now dominates the social advertising playing field, making up more than 65 per cent of the total market share with more than six million active advertisers. Despite these figures, 94 per cent of Facebook pages are still yet to dip their toe in the water.

But what benefits does social advertising hold when compared to more traditional offline advertising? Let’s explore the top three; targeting, cost and analysis.

Targeting
Traditional advertising usually has a ‘spray and pray’ approach, whereby an advert is printed, but you don’t really have any indication of who is seeing it. Social advertising is much more precise, allowing you to reach out to targeted prospects, increasing conversions and ultimately increasing ROI. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to target your ad based on what makes your audience unique. Age, gender and location are yesterday’s news. For a campaign to be truly effective, a business needs to identify its audience by keyword, targeting users who talk about specific topics or have particular interests.

Costs
When compared to more traditional, offline tactics such as print and tv advertising, social advertising is significantly cheaper. £25 a month can go a long way to reaching your targeted audience if your campaign is planned with the correct targeting. Each platform offers an array of different billing options that are intrinsically linked to your campaign objectives. The most common ones include:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC): perhaps the most common billing option. CPC sees you pay for an advert when a user clicks/interacts with it.
  • Cost-per-view (CPV): often used when there is no real call to action (however, you should always have one somewhere). CPV is slightly cheaper than CPC, however you are charged every time someone views your ad, whether they engage with it or not.
  • Cost per like: this tactic charges businesses for every follower gained through the ad campaign

Analysis
It’s important to evaluate the success of any marketing tactic and social advertising is no different. While for many tactics you have to wait until the end of the campaign to measure their effectiveness, social advertising allows for real-time performance analysis. If your ad isn’t delivering the results you want one week into a four-week campaign, change it. Update the image, change the call to action or re-do the entire thing. Make it work for you. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have in-built analytics for ad reporting that allow you to print a report at the click of a button.

Social advertising allows businesses to ensure their online marketing campaigns are SMART (specific, measured, achievable, relevant and time related). From as little as £5 per week, you can interact with users you know are interested in your brand, saving both time and money in the long run.

If you’re looking to plan your first social advertising campaign, or just want some tips on how to make an existing campaign more effective, email Chris at chris@stonejunction.co.uk or call 01785 225416.

Chris Brown

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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