‘Pay-to-play’ was the clarion call sent up at the beginning of 2019.
As businesses and influencers alike saw their organic reach sink as low as 2%, and their engagement rise and fall with each social media platform’s tweaks to the algorithms, it grew clear that advertising was becoming necessary for continued social media success.
Social advertising not only gives your content a chance to stand out, but also makes sure your advertising budget is spent in the right place. Nielson claims that social is the most important channel for advertising, and they’re not alone: 42% of millennials and 50% of Gen Z agree, believing social the most relevant place for branded adverts [Adobe's State of Digital Advertising 2018].
Whether through boosted posts or targeted ads, a little extra spend can ensure your content is seen by as many relevant people as possible – something that can be difficult to do in the saturated space of most social newsfeeds.
A year on, advertising is a key part of your digital marketing arsenal. Here’s what you need to know:
Don’t neglect your organic content. A successful advert will drive people to your website or your social media feeds – make sure there’s something to see when they get there. On top of that, maintaining a meaningful social media presence is important to nurture your existing community of followers, and generate return customers. Social campaigns should include a mixture of organic, earned and paid posts, and the best campaigns combine compelling content and communication with targeted ads.
Always begin with a goal. Whether it’s increasing your following and engagement, driving web traffic, or creating sales, you should carefully consider what you want out of your ad to make sure your content is worth the investment, and know what to look for in your analytics.
Don’t be afraid to invest. Digital advertising is getting more expensive as more competitors join the market, but there are options for all budgets. While £5 here and there will not make much of a difference, choosing a single campaign to invest in will have a noticeable difference.
Embrace Pixels. With just a little bit of code, you can see who’s visiting your page to get a really clear image of your audience, and their behaviour on your website. Social media ads then use pixel insights to retarget your audience, discover your audience’s other interests and create a ‘lookalike’ audience for your company to target.
Stay on-brand. If your advert doesn’t resemble the other content on your platform, it will not only confuse people, but also stick out in their newsfeeds in a way that will prevent positive engagement. In any advertising, you should reinforce your core messaging, stick to your established TOV and maintain your aesthetics.
Consider the content. Great content is still key in adverts, as well as on your feed. An advert must be creative, entertaining or informative (bonus points for all three) if it’s going to generate sales, or bring people to your website.
Use analytics. Part of what you pay for in social media advertising is data. Social ads generate far more comprehensive analytics than you’ll get from years of organic social: you’ll be able to segment your audience by age, location and interests, allowing you to hyper-target them in future adverts. This also means you can optimise your ads while they run, and get the most out of your content. It is important to look at all your data. Often people will see a brand pop up on social media a few times, and then research it properly later on. Just because a click doesn’t look like it came from social media, does not believe it didn’t come from social media.