According to eMarketer, advertisers worldwide will spend $23.68 billion on paid social media ads, which is a 33.5% increase from 2014. Advertisers in the U.S. and Canada will surpass $10 billion this year; that is 15.9% of all digital ad spend dollars in North America.
When launching your paid social media strategy, please keep these five social media myths in mind:
Myth One: Choose one social media network and buy advertising. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest all have their own ad platforms and audiences. You need to evaluate which network(s) reach your audience and create a cohesive strategy. There are many, many other niche social networks, especially for Business-to-Business (B2B), so look into where your audience is heavily active.
Myth Two: My audience is not on Facebook. I know that I just mentioned in the paragraph above that you should look into a combination of social media networks; however, Facebook is the exception to the rule. Nearly every audience uses Facebook; even the elderly are using this social media network. In 2012, U.S. Census data recorded 41.5 million adults age 65+ on Facebook. Today, you can reach approximately 15 million members (or nearly 33%) of the 65+ audience with just Facebook alone. When used in combination with other forms of media, you can strengthen a media buy to this audience further.
As you might expect, younger demos are even easier to reach. The 2012 U.S. Census data calculated 98.5 million adults ages 21-44 in the U.S., while in the same year, Facebook estimated that you can reach 105 million adults. This meant that you could reach more adults ages 21-44 on Facebook than the census data could track. The discrepancy could be attributed to multiple accounts for one person, spam accounts, and other factors. By using Facebook audience targeting, however, we can remove these false accounts from our target audience.
Myth Three: Paid social media advertising is only for consumer brands. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “well, social media works best for consumer brands.” Let me set the record straight: social media can work for any brand, regardless of industry, audience (as noted above), and goals. For example, the Facebook Ads Manager platform allows you to use your current following, pixels, interests, behaviors, and even third-party data sources, including Experian, Acxion, Epsilon, DLX, to specifically target your audience. Twitter allows you to use @handles, hashtags, keywords, TV shows, and more to help you with your social media campaign goals.
Myth Four: I should only reach my top-performing consumers. Just because you can reach the recently married 20-35-year-old female homeowner with no children and a household income of $50,000+ does not mean you should ONLY target this profile. This may be the top customer for a baby brand, but if you only focus on this audience, you are staying too deep in your funnel. Keep in mind not to always target too specifically, and remember awareness posts. Facebook’s ad units are very prominent and great for branding to a more general audience that may be in market now, or in the near future.
Myth Five: “Boosting” a post is enough. For the purpose of a simple explanation, I am only going to use Facebook as the example. Simply boosting a post limits audience targeting and duration of post significantly. Opening up the Ads Manager will allow you to choose an objective that will accomplish your brand/product/service goals. This is where you can properly target the recently married 20-35-year-old female homeowner with no children and a household income of $50,000+ and save this audience for future use.
Social media advertising can be complex. It is constantly changing and not going away. The tools may change, but the strategy and goals can be shifted to each new platform. If you need help with planning, launching or maintaining your paid social media strategy, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.