The rise of social media has generated endless new opportunities for advertisement. With these new platforms, targeting a precise audience for advertisement has never been so effective. The plethora of available advertising avenues also means that one has a lot to consider when starting a new campaign. Every social platform has its own rules and should be researched before advertising on it. Even before that, though, the first goal is to prepare your campaign. Have a quick look into this article, to see the 6-steps strategy to smart advertising. Once you have clearly defined your goals and what you expect from your campaign, it is time to have a look into the social platform you can use for advertisement.
You still need to decide where to advertise. Knowing the why and the what is one thing, but with the rise of the “social web” advertisers now have many more different options for how and where. As always, it is important to have a good look into what others do before jumping into an unknown activity. Where do the best social marketers advertise?
According to Business Insiders here is a review of how much is spent on social media:
Clearly, Facebook is the number one place where marketers decide to advertise. That means two things: first, you cannot dismiss Facebook from your list of places to advertise, because both your customers and competitors are on it. But the other interesting point would be to look into other places to advertise, because your competitors might not be advertising on them, or they might be much cheaper!
To simplify your work, I summarized the key points of advertising on the most interesting social networks for a marketer.
Advertising on Facebook
With more than a billion users, and over 50% of those users active on any given day, Facebook is the actual leader of the social networks. You have the virtual opportunity to reach over a billion potential customers with one ad. With its sophisticated system of “likes” and center of interests, Facebook produces an algorithm that makes targeting customers as easy as child’s play. You can target exactly the people who will be most receptive to your advertisement. Age, gender, occupation, interests, and more… It has a user-friendly interface, so even if you are not familiar with Facebook or other advertising solutions (like Google Adworks for example) you will have no trouble creating a campaign on Facebook.
First, go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising and click on “create an ad”. You need a Facebook account to start using the advertisement system. You have three possibilities: “sponsored stories”, “promoted posts”, or “Facebook Ads”. The “sponsored stories” will reach your customers in their newsfeed, and the Facebook Ads will stay on the places designed for advertisement (mostly on the right side of the screen).
Facebook recently added the “promoted post” functionality. Here is a great article from SEOMoz that compares the reach of promoted posts and sponsored stories: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-promoted-post-vs-sponsored-story-test
The rest of the process for creating the ad is standard: you will be asked to choose a destination tab (the landing page that your ad will point to), a title (just like blog titles, use a catchy title to grab the attention), an image, etc.
The next step is focused on targeting. You will select the audience you want to reach with your ad. Location, age, gender, and more. Facebook is known for having the most precise targeting available, so use this to your advantage!
The last step is pricing. This is the key: the more you pay the more people will see your advertisement. You have the choice between CPM (you pay for the visibility of your ad, per “impression”), or CPC (you pay when people click on your ad). The click-through rate is often very low (most of the time <0.1%), but the CPC option usually offers you the best return on investment.
The cost of Facebook advertising will depend on your target. The Cost per Click for example can be anything between $0.03 to $5 or more depending on your industry. This can still be a great deal, depending on the conversion rate of people who click through your ad and how much a conversion is worth to you. This is the key point that will determine whether your ROI on this campaign will be high or low. You should start with a small budget. Many people focus on a reasonable $50 to start with. There is no point in flooding your ad in one day all over the Internet. Refine it through small trials and iterations, and increase the reach and budget once you’re satisfied with its performance.
How effective Facebook is for advertising:
Because it only displays messages from the brand to the customers/fans, Facebook ads do not provide something “special” that would make the site unique for branding. Of course a fan page helps with company branding and community building, but advertising alone will be much more effective for specific products/services/events rather than just for the name of the company. Advertisers understand that, and you can clearly see that the ads on Facebook are usually for a product/service and not for the company itself.
With the amount of people reachable with any ads, Facebook is a place one can’t ignore when promoting a service or a product. The billion users make it almost impossible to select criteria with no results. A popular strategy is to combine Facebook ads with a free Facebook fan page, by directing those who click on the ad to the Facebook page. If, once there, they are convinced to ‘like’ the page, they will automatically see future updates and posts by the page in their newsfeed.
Facebook has a specific system of events that is widely used. Events are often used for marketing, and Facebook is the only social network set up to support marketing events specifically. Correctly used, it can be extremely effective.
Advertising on Twitter
Why advertise on Twitter? 340 million tweets a day, that’s why. Even though it does not have the user count of its big brother Facebook, Twitter is the center of many highly precise communications between people. Of the biggest social networks, Twitter has been continuing to display some of the fastest growth. Like Facebook, you can target your audience very precisely. That said, advertising on Twitter is less about advertising a product or an event, and more about general branding. Twitter offers three solutions: promoted tweets, accounts and trend.
As the name suggests, promoted tweets appear in your feed, but instead of being tweeted by someone you follow, it is paid for. Around 5% of this advertising leads to real interactions, and about 80% of those who bought a Promoted Tweet buy another one: proof of efficiency?
Again, the name speaks for itself. Promoted accounts show up at the top of twitters suggested account area. They are not showed to all Twitter users; they follow the same algorithm as “Who to follow”. These results are based on the trends you follow and people you interact with.
Promoted trends are less aggressive, and are becoming more and more popular. They are showed to every user, depending on what is trending at the moment. They have a huge exposure, and as a result may cost you a good deal of money. When a user clicks on the “promoted trend”, it shows every conversation about this trend. They are popular among the users because they displays authentic tweets from “real” users, not promoted ones (although it is possible to see one promoted tweet when clicking on a promoted trend; that would be an effective marketing campaign). It is basically a research suggestion.
Go to https://business.twitter.com/advertise/start/ and get started! It is user-friendly and you will have no trouble setting up exactly what you want.
How effective Twitter is for advertising:
Twitter is all about promoting a brand. With the promoted trends or accounts, it allows each company to reach more and more people. It is the opposite of Facebook, where businesses will try to advertise for a specific product or service directly. Twitter is a branding dream: if you have a huge amount of followers you will then be able to interact and communicate with them directly about your products/services and news.
Twitter is average for advertising a specific product or service. It can show a specific message to a lot of targeted people, so in that way it is a way to advertise, but it will not create any commitment or follow up. Twitter is about communication, not calls-to-action.
Because something can go viral very quickly using Twitter, promoting an event can be very effective. With the combination of promoted trends, accounts, and tweets, it is possible to capture the attention of a lot of people for an event, and encourage these people to talk about it on their own. Promoted trends in particular excel at this.
Advertise with LinkedIn
LinkedIn claims to be the world’s largest professional network. With more than 187 million users in over 200 countries, they offer a unique place to advertise.
Advertisement on LinkedIn works by an auction system. The minimum CPC is $2 but you will have to pay more to compete with other customers. The bottom-line is the same as on other networks: the more you pay, the more your ad will be seen.
The system will give you a “suggested range”, and do not ever think of paying less, or it will never put you in a winning position against others advertisers. As with other CPC systems, you give a budget you are willing to spend, and when it has been reached they stop showing your ad. Consider advertising on LinkedIn carefully, as it is often much more expensive than Facebook CPC. Watch your ROI closely, and take plenty of time optimizing your campaign.
The targeting system of LinkedIn is precise, but keep in mind that the more criteria you add the less people you will reach. One or two criteria reach an average of 150,000 to 400,000 members. It will be quality or quantity: you need to figure out which is more important to your goals.
LinkedIn rewards success. The more your ad is clicked on, the more it will be displayed (limited by your budget). Sadly, the opposite is also true, and that is why it can be important to create several ads instead of just one.
How effective LinkedIn is for advertising:
LinkedIn advertisement is focused on branding and hiring. As a business network, it is very effective in this.
LinkedIn allows users to add products or services to their brand’s profile. In that way it is possible to advertise for a product/service, but it is a secondary target. The main utility of LinkedIn’s advertising is branding.
Same as products/services on Twitter; LinkedIn has a lot of users, so it is possible to reach a lot of targeted people. This makes it a “good” place to advertise. Concerning events, the advantages stop there, as there are no special features to promote an event particularly effectively using LinkedIn’s advertising.
Advertising with YouTube
Diversity of advertising options is what makes YouTube advertisement very interesting. You can spend either cents or millions on YouTube advertisements, as well as everything in between. It is often seen (and it was particularly clear in the last days of the 2012 US presidential campaign) if you have the resources and you want visibility on YouTube, you will have it!
YouTube offers 6 different ways to advertise. I exclude from this the mobile banner ads, as mobile advertisement is very different and not covered by this article.
The biggest one is the “Homepage Masthead Unit”, also called the “Redzone”. For 24 hours, an advertiser can show a large banner with interactive content such as games, videos, pictures… on YouTube’s homepage! It offers great involvement and impact with viewers. The ad is seen by millions, and YouTube charges around $375,000 per day for its showing (according to Fast Company Magazine). This is a luxury not everyone can afford.
For more “human” campaigns, the five other ways to promote your brand or product are quiet effective. You can either advertise with a video that plays before a related YouTube video is watched (in video ads, or in stream ads), or you can have a sponsored video on the right top corner of the website (rich media ads), which can be switched with a simple banner (standard banner ads).
Since YouTube is Google’s property, it is logical that the advertisement system is quite similar. YouTube’s advertisements work through AdWords. Google created a guide to help you step by step through the process: http://www.google.com/ads/video/
How effective YouTube is for advertising:
With the “Homepage Masthead Unit”, any brand with sufficient fundings can own YouTube for 24 hours. For more reasonable measures (and budgets), any good video presenting a brand is very effective. It is often used to link to a brand’s own YouTube channel to encourage people to subscribe.
Any great video used as advertisement is effective on YouTube. For a service or a product, it can even be shared and liked for the video itself. By “forcing” the promoted video before other’s, it uses the popularity of one video to promote another one. It is a great way to advertise, and it is very effective for services and products.
Same as LinkedIn or Twitter: many people are reachable but YouTube doesn’t offer particular support for event promotion. A small exception is movie and game releases, as sponsored trailers are an effective way to grab attention on the release date.
You now have an overview of advertising options in Social Media. The most important thing you need to remember is that multiple ads are generally a better strategy than one larger, less diversified advertisement. By creating several items for the same campaign, you increase your chance of success with at least one of them. Here is a quick comparison of the social media advertising platforms we focused on in this article: