Advertising on Social continues to grow in popularity and evolve. It is no longer a question of if you will advertise in Social Media, it’s how much budget and time will you allocate to it. With more people logging in to Facebook daily than not, it has become THE ad buying destination on Social. In 2015 most marketers say that they are planning to increase their social advertising budget: especially on Facebook. The opportunity is huge, so in order to ensure you succeed and deliver an ROI on your spend here are some things to consider.
Targeting: The interesting thing about interests on Facebook
It might be obvious to say that you need to implement targeting in order to find your audience in Social Media, but what might not be so obvious is the best way to do it. Social provides great, and accurate, demographic information regarding gender, geography and age but also has insightful data on people’s interests.
What someone is interested in is a smart way to determine if they are your next potential customers. For example, imagine you are a major sports league selling merchandise online. Knowing that someone is interested in your league, or one of its teams, makes them a good target for your ads (conversely knowing someone is not interested in sports is just as important, so they are not targeted and your ad dollars are not wasted). Now combine this known interest with their geographic information and you can create a much more compelling advertisement. You cannot only show them jerseys and hats, you can show them merchandise from their local team greatly increasing the relevance of the ad.
Build campaigns, not ads
Acquiring a customer is a journey. The internet, as I’m sure you know, has changed the way consumers buy. As a results brand marketers have shifted from purely product based advertising to more relationship (or thought leadership) based advertising. This shift requires marketers to not think of ads as merely one-off’s or promotions but as a piece of a larger campaign in which the goal is to engage with customers and prospects over a period of time.
Social is the perfect place to implement relationship campaigns because people are on Social channels daily, if not multiple times a day. This give marketers a multitude of opportunities to engage with their prospects. By leveraging unique pixels per ad, and landing page, you can determine where someone is in the buying journey and therefore which ads you should serve them. This data can also be used to drive intelligent re-targeting and up-sell campaigns.
Audience Development in Social Media
Another reason Social advertising continues to grow is because of its ability to fuel audience development. In the infancy of Social Media brands leveraged (and by leveraged I mean paid) influencers to post messages in an effort to increase their audience size. While influencers, like celebrities, might have a large reach people are not necessarily inclined to follow a brand merely because someone famous posted something about them. There is a lack of “context” to this tactic. While it can prove to be “influential” it cannot stand alone as an audience development strategy.
An additional, and effective, way to develop your audience is by adding pixels to your website. This tactic allows you to build custom audiences that you can then target in Social. The icing on the cake is that these custom audiences give you great information on what your customers “look like”. That data can be leveraged to create “look-alike” audiences that can be targeted with ads and promotions. Because they are similar to your existing customers they are more inclined to convert, make better targets for your ad spend and will support your audience development goals.
The minute you think you have figured out the formula to Social ad buying success something will change. This could be a technology change (like how ads are served or what data you have available) or an end user change (how people use and interact with Social)…but rest assured something will change. This is particular true for Social.
As digital marketers you need to be ready to evolve and shift with the marketplace. What worked today might not work tomorrow so be open to testing and don’t expect to knock it out of the park every time. It’s ok to run campaigns that are focused on learning, regardless of what your executive team might tell you, in order to determine how to evolve with an evolving medium. Sometimes knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.