Article

Rick Barron
Rick Barron 11 July 2018

Paid Social works…but homework is required

Paid media has become necessary for brands to amplify content to the right audiences, at the right time, with the right message.

The Pay Off

I remember the days when organic social was all one needed., and then reality sank in…it’s paid social or perish. Paid media has become necessary for brands to amplify content to the right audiences, at the right time, with the right message.

Organic marketing activity is only as valuable as the users it’s reaching. Followers represent a very small percentage of a brand’s total target audience, so only reaching 2 percent to 3 percent of a follower base organically has minimal impact on business objectives.

Paid activity acts as an extension of owned media efforts to drive campaign results and amplify content to a larger target audience. Some of the benefits of paid media on social include:

  1. While some may scoff at the idea of paying to get noticed, paid social has many benefits. One of the tangibles ‘is’ gaining increased visibility. In addition, the other added benefits to you, and your brand, is to zero in on the specific audience segments you’re wanting to address, plus a valuable presence across a variety of social channels.
     
  2. Scale: Paid media enables marketers to reach and target hundreds of millions of users on a daily basis.
     
  3. High-level targeting: Leveraging first-party, logged-in data enables targeting granularity at high accuracy. Customer-relationship-management targeting capabilities mean that brands can utilize their customer data to target and create lookalike audiences. Partnerships with third-party data companies enable advertisers to target users based on offline buying behavior.
     
  4. Optimization: Activity can be optimized on a specific goal–reach, awareness, offsite conversion or engagement.

Doing your homework

As people learn the idiosyncrasies of utilizing social media to its potential, so does the arrival of various competitors.  As the amount of people on social platforms continues to grow, so does the amount of competition. When brands vie for the attention of the same target audience on the same platform, traffic jams can occur. The result of all this can result in campaigns failing to take off, and cost per action massively increasing.

So how does one deal with the congestion? This is where sorting out the details of what it is you want to accomplish helps. Companies need to determine how to target their brands as opposed to what their competitors are doing. Some demographics to consider are: age, gender, locations, browsing behavior, education level, platform usage, device types used for browsing, and more.

Setting ‘real’ expectations

If you don’t plan to succeed, then you plan to fail. Not establishing a clear strategy can often lead to paid campaigns failing. Brainstorm your objectives to set realistic KPIs so as to achieve your end goals, that being campaign engagements, clicks, conversions, etc. Make sure to get support and not lack of, from senior management, especially if they are unaware of the social landscape to begin with, or the benefits of paid advertising.

Ownership and budget

One problem that plagues paid social is where it sits within an organization. After all, a paid campaign might be an objective for PR and communications, display teams, or wider marketing. Essentially, this also means that there are different ways campaigns can be measured. 

In order to avoid confusion, teams should come together to support one another and discuss how to create and execute campaigns to best achieve overall business objectives.

Budgets are sure to be an issue, with investment often being required to prove the capability of the channel. If you have parties that are unaware of the benefits of paid social, then obtaining the funds can be a big hurdle. As called out earlier, do your homework. Preparing case studies that prove value can help, as well as ensuring that paid social is included in overall marketing planning. 

Helpful links

Paid Social on platforms

Paid Social and Demographics

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