Why You’ll Invest In Social Media Advertising This Year

social media advertisingSocial Media Advertising Is On Trend.
Organic Reach Is Dead.

Social Media Advertising will be one of the new big trends in social media and inbound content marketing this year. Some of the major social networks already have profitable advertising platforms in place and are helping brands reach and convert more of their fans in a proven unobtrusive fashion. Now Facebook has something new that direct response marketers will love.

Both Facebook and Twitter have been offering advertising for a few years, while Pinterest rolled out Promoted Pins and Instagram now has Sponsored Photos and Videos.

Not to be out done, LinkedIn also sells ads and let’s not forget about the digital display/PPC ad giant that is Google. Google released +Post Ads late last year and this allows for brands to turn Google+ content into ads on the Google Display Network (GND).

This week Facebook rolled out yet another update. The first one was their News Feed update which made further changes to its algorithm. The new second update has to do with Facebook advertising and is particularly of interest to direct response marketers who want to reach people on mobile and desktop.


Facebook Announces Mobile Retargeting In Custom Audiences Feature

In a post on January 28, Facebook said that they were rolling out new features designed to provide direct response marketers more solutions to reach people across devices and encourage them to take action. Sounds good doesn’t it? I mean who wouldn’t want that??

You may recall in October of last year Facebook previewed new Custom Audiences capabilities that were designed to reach people who visited a website or a mobile app. This feature is now available for everyone to use.

“Custom Audiences from a website or mobile app combines the power of Facebook’s existing Custom Audiences capabilities — scale, real identity across devices, and accurate targeting — with real-time automated audience creation.

By placing the Facebook remarketing pixel on their website, or the Facebook or third-party SDK in their mobile app, more marketers can now build Custom Audiences based upon the actions people take while visiting their site or mobile app — and then show deliver ads based on these actions.”

Facebook offers some great examples of how different businesses can use this new tool:

A travel website with the remarketing pixel could use Custom Audiences to reach a certain group of people. For example they may want to hit people who searched for flights but never made a reservation. They can then send a targeted message that these users  will see in their News Feed. This message could be something like: “Come back for 10% off your next flight reservation.”

Another example is a retail mobile app that wants to build retargeting campaigns. They’d first need to install the Facebook or third-party SDK in their mobile app and target people on mobile or desktop, encouraging them to come back and purchase the items left in their shopping cart.

Can you imagine the boost in marketing, engagement, and conversions this approach could provide your business?


Custom Audiences Case Studies From Facebook

To prove their point and the merits of this new Custom Audiences feature, Facebook let us in on some stats from 3 different advertisers who demo’d the service.

1. Zaggora, a women’s active wear company drove 3-6X return on ad spend (ROAS).

2. A financial news mobile application, Seeking Alpha, saw its average cost per install reduced by 28% when targeting mobile app install ads to people who had previously visited the Seeking Alpha website.

3. JackThreads reached users from their own mobile app who added products to their cart but did not end up purchasing them and received over 8X ROAS. They ran a second campaign by targeting and re-engaging users who made purchases from the last 30 days and achieved over 4X ROAS.

facebook custom audiences retargeting ads

Note that the Custom Audiences features from your website or mobile app will work with all Facebook ad formats, placements, and targeting capabilities. They will be available in the Power Editor, Ads Manager, through PMDs and via the API.


Better Calls To Action For Your News Feed Ads

I was pretty excited about this new feature due to my clients social media needs and goals. I love that Facebook is offering brands and businesses a much more effective way to drive users from Facebook to the advertiser’s landing page – on both desktop and mobile of course.

With this new feature, each time we create a Page post ad in which the plan is to drive traffic to our desktop or mobile website landing page, we now have an option to add a call-to-action button – right in the Post! The button will be placed by default in the lower right hand corner of the ad. Even better, you have a choice of 5 call to action buttons: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now, or Download.



Facebook Call To Action Button Example

Facebook Advertising is a Necessity, Not An Option

It’s time for all brands, SMBs, digital marking agencies, and social media consultants to realize the free ride is over. We’ve all had many years to build a following online with one or more social media platforms. I myself have been working Facebook Pages for two separate clients that are each well over 5 years old. Our growth and reach with these pages were all organic – almost 100% to date.

However, by the middle of 2013 I was using Facebook advertising to gain reach, likes, and conversations only because we had to. If we wanted to reach more than the 16% of fans Facebook actually allows us to reach organically, we’d have to use promoted posts and sponsored stories.

By the way, I really, if ever, reached 16% of a client’s 25,000+ fans. It was much more like 8-10% organically. This is when it became abundantly clear to me that organic reach is dead and social media advertising is rising from its ashes.

Facebook officially killed organic reach for business Pages in December 2013. An article on AdAge.com reported Facebook admitting that organic reach is falling short and that they urge marketers to buy ads. Facebook told them: “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

That was an important statement from Facebook. I hope you caught it. Facebook, other than wanting to generate revenue from reach hungry advertisers, also wants to provide the user with the most meaningful experience while on the social network.

What this means to me is that community managers, digital strategists, and so called “social media gurus” can’t rely on simply posting content and expecting it to organically reach that promised 16% of their fans. The content must be useful, compelling, relevant, and meaningful for the users.

But that’s really only part of the puzzle.


Social Media is SEO

Creating and publishing quality content that is so useful and engaging that it gets shared multiple times over multiple social networks is what digital marketing companies, large brands, and smart SMBs strive to do daily.

To decrease spam and black-hat SEO tactics, Google has also been telling us that web pages that include regular and relevant optimized content and get shared through social media platforms, will rank higher than competing sites without quality content, in the SERPs for targeted keywords.

Your social content must be optimized for both social and search as well. We call this Social Media Optimization or SMO. Images should be the appropriate size for each social network, they should have keyword rich file names, descriptive alt tags (no keywords), and title tags with keywords. Don’t forget to optimize your links with title tags as well. Here’s an article I wrote with 10 tips to optimize images for Pinterest.

So now that we’re publishing quality optimized content, which by the way is keyword rich but not “stuffed”, as keywords are still important in your SEO strategy, what’s the missing piece of the puzzle I referred to?

If you’ve read this far I expect you to know the answer. If you missed it, it’s adding targeted social media advertising to your digital marketing mix. Especially with Facebook.

If you’re creating amazing shareable content and no one, including most of your Facebook Fans, is seeing it in their News Feeds, what’s the point?

Let’s put it this way, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” See what I’m saying?


Social Media Is Word Of Mouth

Social Media networks will always be free to use. But if advertisers want to profit from a social platform’s active user base, they’ll have to pay for that. Facebook Twitter, G+ and others are creating new advertising products and improving on their existing offerings to entice brands to invest in social advertising.

It might be time to rethink your social marketing strategy and keep that plan as part of your overall marketing plan.

I’ve suggested clients move their Google AdWords PPC/CPC spend into social media advertising. A few of my reason include:

1. Social Media ads, with targeting, look like unobtrusive and relevant content in social timelines as opposed to the blatant PPC ads you see on the top, bottom, and right side of your Google search.

2. Social Media ads can seem more like a referral or trusted word of mouth recommendation from a connected ‘friend’ on social media. Google ads have no sense of ‘trust’ to them and many people won’t even look at them so your message is already lost.

3. Social Media Ads can be much more affordable than Google AdWords.


Generating Business On Facebook

It might not be for every business, but for many small, medium, and large companies it’s possible to generate business on Facebook. It works well if you work it well.

A recent Business Insider report says “As brands look across a fractured media landscape, where few digital properties offer any scale, social networks offer them an interesting proposition. Forecasts call for over $10 billion in annual social media ad spend globally by 2017.”


USA social ad forecast by ad format

The Wrap

I’m a believer in the potential of social media advertising. I’ve seen results on several different campaigns targeted to a variety of demographics.

Imagine if you could get in front of just 1% of all your potential targeted customers once a day where they spend the majority of their free time (i.e. on Facebook).

How much would you be willing to invest in that?

For example, you could get a great start building your reach and your fans on Facebook for as little as say $300/month for a 3 month social advertising campaign. You can set it all up yourself or hire a qualified and experienced social media or digital marketing consultant with a custom Facebook advertising strategy for your business .

For more content on Facebook Advertising and how it can work for your business, please read:

  1. Why Do Facebook Ads Work and Why You Need To Use Them
  2. Facebook Advertising For Retailers Gives Big ROI
  3. Amazing Facebook Statistics for 2013

I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media advertising and any experiences you’ve had – good or bad. Please let us know in the comments below.


Feature image via Flickr.
Chart via Business Insider.


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