Social Advertising Best Practices

Social advertising budgets are rising at almost twice the speed of display and more than twice the speed of search budgets. In fact, global advertising revenue of social networks was up 30 percent year over year (YOY) in 2016, and it’s predicted to rise an additional 25 percent this year to $41 billion.1 And this increased spend, along with the maturation of social ad placements andsmartphone adoption, is showing results — social media inquiry generation is up 64.7% YOY according to our most recent quarterly benchmarking report. 

Growth like this is a clear indicator of strong competition. And that means your campaigns need to be smart and efficient, targeted and engaging. The best practices highlighted below will help ensure your social advertising campaigns are built for success.


DEFINE YOUR MARKETING OBJECTIVES, THINK CROSS-CHANNEL AND STAY FOCUSED

Like any advertising campaign, you shouldn’t move forward until you have a reason to do so. Outlining marketing objectives needs to be your first step, and social advertising should be implemented as a component of a holistic media plan instead of just a standalone tactic. 

The options for social advertising are growing on almost a daily basis, and like other forms of media, they need to each be evaluated for quality and their ability to place your brand in front of your target audience. Select the social channels that will be both efficient in terms of cost and effective in terms of achieving your objective. 

Outline your objectives first and then work to achieve them.


USE EVERY BIT OF TARGETING DATA YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON

Social advertising without targeting is comparable to nailing jelly to a tree: messy, time consuming and rather pointless. Fortunately, there are many data-based options for identifying and reaching your target audience. By combining your customer data with information about your social media followers, visitors to your website and third-party geographic, demographic and psychographic data, you can develop audience segmentation centered on prospects most likely to convert. 

This defined target audience should be the foundation of your social media strategy. At the simplest level, it will help you identify the platforms to use. For example, if your audience indexes highly for women with a household income of more than $50,000 per year, Pinterest may be a great fit.2 But there are many more sophisticated ways to use this data as well. Social network ad platforms allow targeting by geography, age, interest, profession, behaviors and more. “Lookalike” targeting is also available on some platforms, giving you the ability to generate audiences that match multiple characteristics of your current customers. 

You can, and should, reach a tightly targeted audience.


KNOW THE INS AND OUTS OF PLATFORM REPORT METRICS

Social platforms are not consistent in their metric definitions. To effectively measure performance, you must understand the nuances of those definitions or employ an expert who does. 

On Facebook, for example, “Clicks (All)” includes every click on your ad — to your website, on the like button, on the comment button or for any other interaction with the ad. If you’re measuring traffic driven to your website, “Clicks (Links)” is the metric to evaluate.3Similarly, many marketers incorrectly believe Twitter’s “engagement” metric reflects the number of times someone clicked on the link within an ad, including opens, unique opens, likes, shares and the completion rate.4 But it actually measures all engagement with the tweet. To measure traffic to your website, you need to export a campaign report and review the “URL clicks” metric. 

Tracking and measurement platforms are regularly being updated in an effort to better meet the needs of advertisers. While these enhancements are typically good in the long run, they can create confusion in the short term for marketers trying to understand what is being measured and how the metrics are defined. Unless social media tracking is your full-time job, you may want to consult an expert to make sure you’re analyzing and optimizing based on the right data. 

If you don’t understand your reports, make sure you find someone who does.


TEST ALTERNATIVE BIDDING STRATEGIES

Many self-service ad platforms allow bidding and optimization based on specific objectives like conversions or new followers. While this supports the needs for many entry-level advertisers, it can also be an easy way to produce poor campaign performance when the optimization strategies do not match the campaign objectives. If none of the objectives in the self-service ad platforms fits your needs, try manually entering bids to improve performance. 

Your bidding strategies must support your objectives.


BUILD ADS WITH AN EYE TOWARD MOBILE

Mobile device users are prevalent on social networking sites. In fact, of Facebook’s almost 2 billion monthly active users, more than 90 percent access the network through mobile devices.5 This means everything you do, every post you make, needs to consider the mobile user. Facebook published a number of creative recommendations for ad effectiveness, including simplicity and the use of images that include people. With regard to mobile devices, a 90-character limit is essential. Remember, you need to engage your audience as they scroll through their news feeds at lightning speed. Expecting them to click “read more” is an exercise in futility. 

Similarly, make sure you provide a strong call to action. If your audience doesn’t know what you want them to do, they may not engage with you at all. 

It is likely that most of your ads will only be seen on mobile devices.


 

DO YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR SOCIAL ADVERTISING?

TALK TO THE EXPERTS AT DMS. WE DELIVER COST-EFFECTIVE AND SCALABLE SOLUTIONS THAT MEET YOUR GOALS AND YOUR BUDGET. MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY ARE BUILT TO DELIVER A MEASURABLE AND IMPRESSIVE ROI.


 

TO LAUNCH A FACEBOOK LEAD ADS CAMPAIGN WITH INSTANT DELIVERY OF YOUR LEADS OR TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN MAXIMIZE ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS, CONTACT THE DMS TEAM.

 

statista.com 2 pewinternet.org 3 Facebook Business 4 Twitter Support 5 Facebook Investor News

Last updated: May 2017

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS) is an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients win in their business ventures and realize their marketing goals. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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