One of the things I actually like about social media is the ads. Seriously. It’s one of the reasons I can’t stand watching television; I’m forced to sit through thirty seconds of often terrible, boring, even lazy advertisements that have nothing to do with my interests. I get angry every time I see someone trip, spill, or drop their popcorn. My brain short circuits every time I see an ad for How I Met Your Mother; I didn’t watch it while it was on air, I’m not going to watch it now, Fox 33. At the very least, ads on Facebook and Instagram actually match what I care about; judging by the ads, chief amongst my passions are bicycles, coffee, and dog dental treats. Well, they certainly have me figured out.
And it’s because social platforms have access to your interests that makes those ads work. It’s also why you should be looking at getting into the world of paid social campaigns. Over the past few years, we’ve seen more business incorporate paid campaigns to supplement their traditional marketing efforts. For more and more clients, paid social is even replacing budgets previously reserved for TV spots, print, and radio. It’s a shift that makes sense, and makes money.
The most obvious reason to invest in paid campaigns is to reach the right people, at the right time, on the right platform to convert. Whether it’s a click, a purchase, a phone call or an inquiry, platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer more than just access to billions of users; they give you access to Larry, who just so happens to love engraved stainless steel knitting needles and wants to buy a pair*. Instead of traditional media like television and radio, which allows you to use a virtual megaphone to shout to the world at large, paid campaign spends your money only when you talk to the right person.
There are a lot of benefits beyond just conversion, however. First, you can greatly increase your reach. No matter how strong your organic game is, reach and impressions have been on the decline for advertisers on Facebook and Instagram for years. Paid campaigns that support events, new products, or simply targeting your potential customers when they’re most active online.
Maybe the most important aspect of paid social campaigns is that the only budget that matters is yours. Instead of TV or radio stations showing you how much packages cost, you set the price; from $2 a day to $5,000 a day and certainly everything in between, the only amount of money that makes sense is what you can actually afford. Running A/B testing and various ad sets allow paid campaigns to be flexible and effective; put more into what works, and if a certain ad sets flops, pull the plug. Managed well, you’re essentially in charge of your own return on investment.
Finally, paid social is a great way not to sell. We’re bombarded by ads, and sometimes world-beating deal doesn’t actually influence your followers to pull the trigger. 73% of social media users follow a brand because they care about the company’s message. By using paid ads to place your best content in front of potential and past customers, we’re able to build an identity and a following that goes beyond a single conversion. Take your best photos, video, and stories of who you really are and don’t just tell people what a great organization you are, but show them. People all want to feel like they’re apart of something; if you’re saving Bear’s Ears National Monument like Patagonia or getting more People for Bikes like Trek, you’re appealing to the social conscience that alines with your brand’s message.
The only bad ad in the world is the one that doesn’t apply to the audience. With paid campaigns, you can talk to the right people, without wasting time or money on those more interested in cat costumes or left-handed safety scissors; get with Q+M to jump-start your next paid campaign.
*Larry is not a real person. Engraved stainless steel knitting implements, however, are real.