Social media ads are flexible, adaptable and affordable and with more people than ever turning to social media for information about local businesses it’s no wonder social media ads are so popular with marketers. An eMarketer report from 2015 found that “Global ad spending on social media will rise more than 33% this year to $23.68 billion.” According to the same report, by 2017 the number could rise to $35.98 billion. Whatever business you’re in, your competitors are using social media to market to your audience. You need to be marketing on social media too.
Social media marketing is effective because everyone – from teens to senior citizens – is using social media. BusinessInsider found that people spend more time on social media than on any other online activity. (Nearly 20% of all time spent online!) It’s no wonder that social media marketing is becoming such an essential part of any marketing plan for small- and medium-sized business owners.
Social media ads reach your customers earlier. A traditional search campaign (like Google AdWords) works by targeting users who are searching for a specific item or term. Social Media ads are able to reach your audience a step before they start searching by looking at their existing online behaviour. Social networks gather an incredible amount of information about their users’ lives and for marketers that information is a goldmine. Access to this information lets marketers create more personalized ads.
Four Benefits of Social Media Advertising
1. Social Media ads let you target your marketing campaigns more specifically.
Beyond specific keywords or even demographics (age, location etc) social media ads let you target customers based on their interests, online behaviour and more. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all let marketers and business owners aim their ads at people who have expressed interest in certain activities or pages, have made purchases in the past or have a connection to a business, event or app. Facebook and LinkedIn also offer look-alike targeting which lets businesses select an audience similar to their existing customers or mimic the audience of a competitor.
2. Social Media ads offer detailed analytics.
All major social network advertising systems offer detailed analytics and conversion tracking and that’s great news for marketers who need to justify their budgets. In addition to tracking clicks through to a website (that is, how many people end up on your site via social), it’s possible to track website conversions coming from social media ads. (I.e. how many people click on a social ad and go on to make a purchase or sign-up with your business.)
3. Social Media Ads dominate on mobile.
ComScore’s US mobile app report found that 60% of all digital media activity happens on smartphones and tablets. As of January 2016 half of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users access the site exclusively from a smartphone or other mobile device. Native social media ads (ads that appear right in the social network) are the best way to reach this growing mobile audience. Unlike the old pop-up ads that annoyed users by disrupting the page they were trying to read, social media ads like Twitter’s promoted tweets or Facebook’s newsfeed ads appear seamlessly right inside the user experience.
4. Social Media ads make it easy to test and refine an ad campaign.
One of the greatest advantages for marketers using social media ads is their flexibility and adaptability. Because of the amount of traffic on social media sites it’s easy for businesses to quickly see how the audience is reacting to a specific ad. And because the ad platforms for buying social media ads are simple and straightforward even small businesses can easily refine an underperforming ad or extend a campaign that’s doing well.
Getting Started with Social Media Ads
There are many different social networks that offer digital advertising and each has its own benefits and challenges. For small businesses starting out with social media marketing, we recommend starting with one or both of the biggest players in the game: Facebook and Twitter. Both of these networks offer large and diverse audiences and ad systems that are sophisticated but easy to navigate. With both networks you can choose your audience, set your budget and change and update your campaign as needed. If you’re new to social media marketing it can be very helpful to hire an agency to set up the campaigns for you, or to manage your accounts once you’re up and running.
How to Buy Ads on Facebook
Facebook’s ad system is more complex than Twitter’s but the site’s popularity and huge audience makes it worth the effort. Facebook ads are set up based on what you want to accomplish with your advertising campaign.
Facebook currently has nine different advertising actions to choose from:
- Boost your post
- Promote your page
- Send people to your website
- Increase conversions on your website
- Get installs of your app
- Increase engagement in your app
- Raise attendance at your event
- Get people to claim your offer
- Get video views
Once you’ve picked your action (the ad type) you’ll need to create an ad account if you don’t have one already. You’ll be prompted to name your ad campaign and then you can target your audience and set your budget. With the campaign set it’s time to create the ad itself. Facebook lets you use images and text in your ads. When you’ve created your ad you can also choose where you want the ad to appear – in the News Feed, in the Mobile News Feed or in the Sidebar.
How to Buys Ads on Twitter
Twitter currently offers three main types of advertisements:
- Promoted Accounts
- Promoted Trends
- Promoted Tweets
For most small- to medium-sized businesses promoted trends are going to be too expensive, but there’s a lot that can be done with promoted tweets. Promoted tweets let you place an ad directly in the timeline of your targeted audience. Twitter can be a great choice for small businesses because of a feature that allows you to target very specific audiences. For example, if you run a yoga studio, you can target your ad to Twitter users who follow other yoga studios in your city.
The process for buying Twitter ads is very similar to Facebook. Log in to the Twitter Ad Platform, ad your payment information and the screens will walk you through the process of setting up your account. The first step is to create a new campaign and choose a goal. Twitter currently offers six campaign goals for you to choose from:
- Website Clicks or conversions
- Tweet engagements
- App installs or re-engagements
- Leads on Twitter
- Video views
Next you’ll follow four simple steps:
- Set up your campaign
- Name the campaign
- Set up conversion tracking
- Select your audience
- Geo targeting
- Keyword and interest targeting
- Set your budget
- Choose your creative
- Upload your ad graphics
- Use existing tweets
Following these basic steps your Twitter ad campaign will be ready to launch.
If you’re ready to see how social media marketing and advertising can help your business, Stir Marketing can help. Contact us today for a free social media marketing consultation or to learn more about our full range of media buying, digital advertising and social media marketing services.