Social media marketing is a very odd thing. On one hand, social media is a medium which enables brands to dazzle and delight users, in an effort to build trust, loyalty, and evangelism. On the other, it’s the most sophisticated aggregation of data for marketing purposes in human history. The dichotomy between “warm and fuzzy” and “tactical business value” is a difficult thing for most brands to comprehend.
From our experience, the scale usually tips too far to one side or the other, and when that happens, social media marketing often disappoints in terms of business results. Since I'm a firm believer in using the 'fun' aspect of social media to support tactically driving business, social media advertising fascinates me.
With the right strategy, social media advertising can help support almost any business goal, for almost any industry, however a few key, fundamental elements have to be correctly put in place. And while they aren’t overly complicated, each is immensely important - here are four critical elements of a successful social media advertising campaign:
Knowing who you want to reach with social media advertising is the first piece of the puzzle. Studies show that 76% of U.S. consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a brand’s social media content, and with the right targeting, you can make sure you hit the most valuable audience at the right time and with the right message.
There are a few key targeting parameters to be aware of when crafting a social media advertising campaign:
- Age – Obviously you can target users by age range.
- Gender – You guessed it! You can target by gender as well.
- Interest Data – Interest data is aggregated based on what users interact with on each respective social channel - if a user frequently engages with content from wine brands, for example, they'll be bucketed in the “Wine” interest category.
- Behavioral Data – Behavioral data is aggregated based on what users do, both on and off the social platforms. Through data partnerships, you can target users based on buying habits and other actions.
- CRM Data – CRM data is essentially your email list. You can upload your email list to almost every social channel and target users via their email address. This is a no-brainer, as long as your list is healthy. People tend to give fake email addresses to brands. Be careful.
- Website Activity – Through the magic of pixels, you can target people based on the actions they've taken on your website. This could includes pages they've visited, content they've consumed, you can even find audiences that look and behave exactly like your website visitors (lookalike audiences). This is great for prospecting.
Unlocking the power of social media advertising begins with using the right targeting parameters. Be sure to research your target audience as much as possible when building out your targeting.
Once you know who you're going after, the next step is to consider what kind of social media creative you can use to make them stop scrolling in their feeds long enough in order to absorb your ad messaging. This is critical, since the average human attention span is roughly eight seconds.
Your creative needs to be intriguing, engaging, and enticing if you want users to stop browsing other content and spend some time with yours.
Sounds easy right? Wrong Getting social media ad creative right is tricky - here are some best practices:
- Demonstrate Context – Use the visual/s in your ad to show people in situations in which your product or service comes in handy. This can help users relate to the messaging, especially if the targeting is accurate.
- Use Color – As you scroll through your feed, you’ll notice a lot of photos from your friends and family mixed in with images from brands. If you add bright color to your social ad creative, it can help your content stand out a bit more against the rest of the material in the feed - a pop of color can win attention.
- Have Clear Calls to Action – Social media users are familiar with ads, and what to do when they see one that interests them, however having a clear call to action is always a great idea. The reminder will nudge users to act.
- Add a Value Proposition – Why should anyone click on your ad? What are you offering them? What does the user get out of the interaction? Be sure to clearly state whatever value you're bringing to the table in a clear and concise way - remember, you have approximately eight seconds, so don’t waste time. Tell people about your offer, discount, free shipping - whatever it is that your brand is offering, and do so quickly.
When you layer the right social media ad creative onto the right audience targeting, magic happens. Be sure to test different images and videos to see exactly what performs the best.
3. Landing Page
In talking about social media advertising, the discussion about landing pages is almost always forgotten, which makes no sense, considering the landing page is the place where the users you paid good money to target will convert.
Without an effective landing page, optimized for conversion, you're wasting time, money, and effort with your social media advertising.
Many brands think sending ad traffic to their home page is sufficient, however, doing so is not ideal. Here are a few tips to ensure your landing page complements your social advertising campaign:
- Consistency – Ensure that your social ad creative has a consistent message, look, and feel which aligns with your landing page. This will help users confirm that they've been sent to the right place, and will find what they were promised in the advertisement. This means that, ideally, your campaigns should have unique landing pages whenever possible.
- Simplicity – The landing page you send traffic to should be simple and easy to understand. Make sure that the information promised to users is there, as well as other relevant, snackable content pieces for users to interact with if they aren’t ready to convert at that time.
- Design – Keep the important information above the fold (the point at which the user must scroll to get more information), including conversion points, unique call-outs, and calls to action. Place everything users need to know front and center so it's easy to see.
Now the fun part - what good is a social media advertising campaign if you don’t have proper tracking in place?
We recommend ensuring that your site, and all relevant landing pages, have Google Analytics set up, social pixels installed (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and as many of the lower-funnel standard events and custom conversions established as make sense.
If this sounds like a foreign language, don’t worry - while implementation of such tracking can be tricky at first, it's fairly straight-forward once you've gone through it a few times. And by setting up these tracking tools, you'll be able to register how many people have interacted with your social media ads, what they've done on your landing pages, and if they ended up converting on a subsequent visit.
The more data, the better - here are the recommended social media advertising key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be tracking:
- Clicks – The amount of people who click your ad
- Page Visits – The amount of people who actually load the landing page
- Impressions – The amount of times your advertisement was served to users
- Click-Through Rate (CTR) – The rate at which users who see your ads click them
- Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) – The cost of 1,000 impressions
- Cost Per Click (CPC) – What you pay every time your ad is clicked
- Time On Site – The amount of time users spend on your website or landing page
- Pages Per Visit – The number of pages a user visits when on your website
- Conversions – The amount of last-click goal completions or conversion actions users make
- Assisted Conversions – The amount of conversions that come from a subsequent action or website session
Easy peasy, right? Running a social media advertising campaign the correct way does take experience, some patience, and a willingness to undertake a certain amount of risk. However, when you're tracking the right data, you can almost always find your way to a winning campaign that drives results.
Hopefully these tips will help you in your 2019 approach.