Have you decided to give paid social media marketing a change this year?
Every digital marketer knows the power of social media for business success, but paid social is another story.
Independent research by Hubspot and Sprinklr found that paid social media is both undervalued and underutilized among marketers. Spending by businesses on social ads lags behind consumer attention by 50%.
While many marketers will continue to miss out on a valuable opportunity with paid social media, it’s clear that it’s time to make a change.
If you’re still not convinced, here are 6 reasons you have to start using paid social media:
1). Social media is oversaturated
Paid social media can help you thrive because free marketing techniques are getting saturated. Viral Heat says that 82% of internet users are social users. We Are Social estimates that number to be over 2 billion people. That’s 28% of the global population.
The fact that so many people are using these platforms demonstrates their worth for marketers, but the crowds do cause some problems as well.
According to Sprinkler, the average Facebook user is exposed to 1,500 stories every time they visit the site. ‘Super social’ users can see up to 15,000 stories per visit.
With so many people and so much content filling up the social media space, it’s near impossible to get your voice heard by anyone organically, let alone your target audience.
2). Organic engagement is falling
After developing paid posting options, Facebook made some major changes regarding what kind of content people actually see in their feeds. The results? Organic engagement has fallen drastically, from 12% in October 2013 to 2.6% by March 2015.
The change offers a pretty clear message for marketers: social media is no longer free.
If you want to get your content in front of your audience, or in front of anyone for that matter, you’re going to need to cough up for promoted posts.
3). Promoted posts optimize targeting
Social media platforms have managed to make advertising more targeted than ever before. And in today’s world of multimedia overload, this is great news for marketers.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn advertising all allow you to target certain demographics.
Twitter and Facebook allow you to target your audience based on age, language, location and other metrics.
Twitter takes it a step further and allows you to target specific people if you want to, or those in specific networks (such as people who follow your competitors). Linkedin ads can be targeted by industry, position in a company, seniority, location and employer size.
In Facebook’s case, the ultra-targeted metrics mean that over 95% of ads are shown to the correct audience, according to Ad Age. The accuracy of other digital channels is as low as 20-40%.
4). Budgets are in your control
Cost is a big fear factor for many marketers who want to try a new form of advertising. But for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, you get to micro-manage exactly how much you spend showing your ad before taking it down.
Facebook: Facebook ads allow you to set a budget for the maximum amount you’re willing to spend to show an ad. You can indicate a daily advertising budget (e.g. $7) as well as a lifetime maximum budget for an ad.
Twitter: Twitter’s budget specifications work in a similar way to Facebook’s — you’re in control of the maximum amount you spend. Twitter only charges you when someone sees your ad and takes an action that aligns with your campaign objective.
Leverage other platforms
Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery positions your site based on interest categories, and only charges you per unique visitor.
Instagram uses targeting metrics similar to Facebook, with affordable pay per click options.
5). More mobile reach
This is an important demographic for marketers to connect with, and social media is the best way to do it.
The Pew Research Center found that 28% of mobile users visit social media sites on their phone daily. Worldwide data showed that a full 68% of time spent on mobile devices is on Facebook alone. Meanwhile, 88% of Twitter’s users are on mobile.
6). It’s effective
Despite being a relatively new marketing strategy, paid social has already demonstrated its effectiveness time and again.
Here are a few examples:
Dell: Dell recently partnered with Sprinklr to align their Facebook advertising bids with members of their audience who are most likely to convert.
Dell was able to leverage paid Facebook advertising to boost their weekly sales by 150%, surpassing their revenue goals by more than 8%.
Philadelphia: Philadelphia leveraged Instagram paid advertising to get the attention of foodies. They created a series of Instagram images of cream cheese shaped into art, integrating their product messaging.
The sponsored images helped Philadelphia get an 8-point lift in purchase intent, as well as 41% increase in sales.
Hubspot: Hubspot wanted to take advantage of Twitter’s Promoted Accounts to generate new leads and better engage their audience.
At the same time, they leveraged Promoted Tweets to target their followers and users who are like them.
Their efforts paid off, gaining them a 150% increase in sales through Twitter and reducing their cost-per-lead by 46%, resulting in a 32% ROI.
There are a lot of preconceived notions about the value of paid social business. In reality, social media platforms offer such a diverse set of advertising options that any business with a social media presence, large or small, can benefit from it.
At the same time, platforms are increasingly favoring paid social in their feeds. These are just some of the many reasons paid social is no longer a strategy marketers can ignore.
About the Author – Courtney Danyel is a freelance writer in the digital marketing niche, providing unique and valuable content for targeted audiences based on the latest scientific and industry research. Visit her website to learn more about her work.