Taking the plunge with paid media

Investing money in advertising can feel like a bit commitment, however deploying paid on social doesn’t need to be scary. As long as you have a plan in place before you start, social is a great way to test campaigns and creatives easily, with real-time feedback. Here’s how to make the most of advertising on social.

Getting the basics right

Boosting posts vs deploying ads – If you’re a page admin on Facebook, the chances are that you’ve seen buttons directing you to boost your page posts, but this definitely isn’t the most efficient way of advertising on the platform. By clicking that button, you’ll only see a very limited ads manager platform that doesn’t allow you to control the deployment of your ad in the same way that your competitors will be.

Instead, you should take the time to go through to the ‘Ads Manager’ section on Facebook. There, you’ll be able to choose from many different objectives, targeting options, and ad formats, including Carousel, Canvas, and Collection, which won’t be available if you’re simply ‘boosting posts’.

The same difference can be seen on Twitter. When you start to build ‘promoted only’ Tweets purely for advertising, you’re able to use ‘website cards’ that give you more options to include a click-through call-to-action and have far more clickable space than a normal Tweet.

Going beyond your page audience – When you’re first starting out with social media advertising, you might be tempted to focus spend on reaching the people who like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you do this, you could be preaching to the converted, and will be missing out on thousands of people who are sitting waiting for a brand or product like yours. Instead, think about who you want to reach and use the platform targeting options accordingly.

Don’t overcut your data – It can be tempting to go really niche with your audience targeting to make sure you reach the people who you’re sure will be interested in your brand. Doing this can be really detrimental to the delivery of your ad. Remember that you’re not the only one advertising to your audience and there are only so many ads each person can see. By keeping your audience broader, you’ll stand more chance of hitting peoples’ screens, then getting engagements and clicks!

Small budgets are fine, but not too small – We get it, unless you have budgets of Nike proportions, there’ll always be someone with more money who’ll be trying to reach the same people as you. You don’t need to have the same money as the big guns for social advertising success, but you’re being charged by CPM (every 1,000 impressions your ad receives), CPC (the cost for every click your ad gets) or CPE (the cost of an engagement on your ad), and so you do need to invest more than a tenner to see any meaningful results. If it makes you feel less nervous, start in the £100s and work your way up to the £1,000s when you’ve seen the results that you want to get!

Understand what your goal is before you start – Are you trying to build brand awareness, get views on a video, direct traffic to your site or sell a product? Your goal will affect the objective you choose and the ad format that will work best for you, so make sure this is set in stone! It’s alright to have different phases of a campaign with different objectives, but make sure you have a plan before you start.

Don’t cannibalise your own audience – Are your ads working well? That’s great if they are, but that doesn’t mean you should start deploying umpteen campaigns at the same time to the same audience. All you’re doing is competing with yourself to get your ads into users’ newsfeeds! Bad for your budgets and bad for your ad performance.

Struggles with paid media

Ever-changing ads managers – Unless you’re logging into Facebook Ads Manager every day, the chances are you’re going to encounter platform change problems at some point in your paid media journey. The Facebook help and news pages are a great place to keep on top of changes but also look to third-party resources like Social Media Today. Twitter changes less often, but you can keep on top of the ad tools on their blog too.

Comparing results across platforms – Annoyingly, not all platforms report results in the same way. This means you’re going to have to understand the different terminologies to make sure you’re fairly comparing the performance of your ads. The most obvious difference is between reach and impressions. Facebook will give you figures for both reach and impressions, whereas Twitter and LinkedIn only report impressions.

When it comes to comparing video view results, you might have the same problem – Facebook gives you lots of metrics from 3-second and 10-second views to completed views. The other platforms are less generous, and only offer you total views, or percentage completed.

The recipe for success

Align everything to your goals – Be single-minded in what you’re doing and remember that not all ad formats and objectives will make your ads a success. For instance, if you’re trying to drive traffic to your site, you should make use of the ad formats that give you the chance to add call-to-action buttons (e.g. ‘shop now’, ‘sign up’).

Don’t get distracted by shiny – Just because an ad format is new or different, it doesn’t mean you have to use it! If it fits with your objectives then by all means go ahead, but otherwise, focus on the formats that work.

Plan, plan, plan – you wouldn’t deploy any other kind of advertising without a plan, and social is no different. Make sure you know what you want to achieve, how long you’re going to deploy your campaign for and how many different ads you’ll post as part of it. Don’t forget to give yourself time to set the ads up as part of your planning either

Use Creative Hub and other resources – Platforms like Facebook give you lots of resources to help deploy advertising, and one of the most useful is Creative Hub. The site allows you to mock up ads and share them with others without having to even touch Ads Manager. There are also examples of each different ad format available for inspiration. Twitter and LinkedIn also have resources that showcase their different ad formats.

Understand how busy periods could affect your ad performance – Around periods like Christmas you’ll find yourself competing with far more brands for ad space on social platforms. This means your costs will increase and you’ll get less for your money – the more competition, the higher the bids will be. You’ll need to consider increasing budgets around these times to be in with a chance of success.

There’s an incredible amount of opportunity in social media advertising! A plethora of platforms and a vast number of formats which can align to all sorts of objectives and goals. If you’re new to it all, pipe up! We’d love to have a chat about it. Or you can find out more about what we do with paid social on our website.

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