Marketers and advertisers are increasing their ad spend across numerous social media channels. Two years ago, internet advertising has surpassed newspaper advertising for the first time with over $5 billion spent on social media ads alone. And it did not stop there, nor is it going to stop increasing any time soon. Business Insider has projected a significant and constant growth in the US social media advertising spend in the coming years that by 2018, it is forecast to reach almost $14 billion.
With millions of consumers using YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks, it’s high time that you take advantage of paid social media. Here are 10 strategic and actionable steps toward a successful social advertising campaign.
1 – Test Your Paid Social Media Ads with the Help of Free Social Media
The messages we put out on social media will not always resonate with our followers, so before dwelling into social advertising, it is best to beta-test your ads first. Heidi Cohen wrote, “start by leveraging the power of free social media to see what works and what doesn’t work to achieve your goals.”
When you tweet, post on Facebook or send out a LinkedIn update, which of those receive the most engagement? Monitor which ones are being liked, commented on, and shared. These high-performing contents typically make great candidates for paid social media.
2 – Create Ads Based on the Platform’s Advertising Model
Social ads are primarily comprised of similar elements: headline, description, call to action, and image. However, you can’t use just one advertising model for every platform. You have to create variety and learn to tweak the ads a bit. As Cohen notes,
Social media advertising is NOT one size fits all. Many networks have different advertising options and performance metrics. Take the time to appreciate what is offered and how it relates to your needs.
3 – Do A/B Split Testings
On a Buffer App blog post, Kevan Lee shared several great social media advertising tips — one of which is creating multiple variations of the same ad, and then deactivating those that are not working well enough after a few hours.
To gauge what social media ads are working and what’s not, Lee suggests three actions: write different versions of the copy, include various images for each one, and adjust your buyer persona. If an ad receives a 1.5 percent CTR or lower after a couple of hours, deactivate it and try something new.
4 – Advertise For Value and Optimize Your Content
Make sure that your social media content is appropriately packaged for the social network and your target audience. Cohen advises that you “use headlines and images that are formatted to improve response based on the specific network.”
When you develop contents based on the platform and advertise for long-term value, you can create seemingly endless opportunities to recoup your spending on social advertising.
5 – Create a Destination for Your Audience
When a prospect clicks on your ad, make sure it brings them to a custom landing page. Lee wrote, “If the goal of your social media ad is conversions… then you’ll want to think not only of the ad itself but also where a person might end up once they click.”
Better yet, create a click-through landing page between the social ad and its final destination. According to Siddharth Bharath of Unbounce, “this keeps the focus on the offer – the reason the prospect clicked – and leaves them with two options: buy now or lose the deal forever.”
6 – Mention a Discount in Your Ad Copy
Including your product’s price in the copy will help qualify your landing page’s traffic and render higher conversions, and so will a mention of a discount offer. According to a survey, 67 out of 100 Facebook users were more likely to engage with an ad that promotes a discount. Not only can this increase your ad’s engagement; it can also boost your ROI.
7 – Follow Through on Your Offers
Most of the time, advertisers resort to offering extreme discounts and giveaways. While this may work on rare occasions, offering something on the ad that you can’t actually afford will certainly backfire. Even when your ad copy is garnering higher traffic, if it does not lead to increased sales, then it’s a waste of time and investment.
“Don’t offer what you can’t afford… Do your homework and make sure even the worst case scenario will be in your favor financially,” Forbes Contributor, Drew Hendricks mentioned.
8 – Make Use of Advanced Targeting Options
Beyond taking into account your audience’s geographic data and general demographic, social advertising enables marketers to target consumers based on connection, interest, and behavior.
The targeting methods that social networks offer “allows you to reach [even the] very small groups of people with the same traits or behavior,” Cohen noted. They also open up an opportunity to boost your social media ad’s relevance, Ganguly pointed out.
Some of these advanced targeting options include:
- Interest targeting, which uses keywords and looks at the persona’s interest, skills, engagement, activities, and related qualities;
- Custom targeting, which is referred to as Custom Audiences on Facebook and Tailored Audiences on Twitter;
- Look-alike targeting, which tap into consumers similar to the custom audience; and
- Connection or Behavioral targeting, which considers past user behavior to determine intent.
9 – Advertise with Mobile Devices in Mind
Like other marketing tactics, social media ads must be optimized for mobile viewing. Online consumers are overwhelmingly consumed on mobile devices. With 60 percent of the total smartphone activity in the U.S. spent on digital media time, there is no denying that going mobile is the next big thing in social media advertising.
Consumers check Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social websites multiple times a day through a mobile device. In fact, Twitter users spend 86 percent of their time on the social network’s mobile app while Facebook users check their news feeds in their smartphones 68 percent of the time. This only means that advertising to mobile users while they are within these social media apps is “the best way to reach them without being disruptive,” according to Marketing Strategist, Sonny Ganguly.
10 – Use Conversion Tracking to Monitor Your Campaign’s Performance
You can’t simply focus on designing and implementing an effective social media ad. It is also imperative to track the results of your efforts and make sure that your ads are generating conversions.
Ganguly suggests using conversion tracking that most social media platforms provide.
Conversion tracking helps your business be smarter about your ad spend and strategy. If your ad is receiving a lot of clicks (which you are paying for) but no conversions, it’s a wasted investment. This information will allow you to better optimize your ad copy and targeting.
Social media advertising has become a powerful player in the online marketing game. It certainly is not just a hype anymore, but rather a tangible driver of conversions and sales.
How do you use social media to advertise your brand? What other strategies would you implement to leverage social advertising? Let me know your thoughts below!