Aside from personal use, social media platforms have quickly become the next marketing “gold rush” for businesses around the world. With more than 2.8 billion people using social media (Source: We Are Social), it presents an almost undeniable opportunity for you to reach your target market in new ways. While running social media ad campaigns does have a lot in common with more traditional marketing strategies (such as PPC), the learning curve can be a bit daunting if you’ve never put one together before. In this article, we’re going to explore the tips and best practices for running a successful social media ad.
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Why Social Media Ads Are Beneficial
1. Reach Your Audience in a New Way
It’s no secret that an increasing number of consumers are going “ad blind”. Social media creates a unique opportunity not only because you’re able to reach a large audience, but because the enjoyable environment that’s conducive to time spent on these platforms makes users more receptive to ads. Rather than intrusive pop-ups and spam mail, social media ads are integrated into user feeds seamlessly so as to not interfere with the experience.
2. Increase Brand Awareness
With a captive audience of 2.8 billion (though you won’t be targeting them all), social media ads are a powerful way to increase your brand’s presence. Creating free business pages is a great place to start, but ad campaigns can drive likes and followers, as well as funnel consumers directly to your website or product landing pages.
3. They’re Cost Effective
If you’ve ever been tied up in a keyword bidding war, then you know just how costly some of the more traditional marketing approaches can be. While any well-rounded marketing strategy will employ multiple channels, you have to decide where your budget is best spent. Recent studies have found that social media ads get the highest engagement rates while also costing the least (Source: Social Media Today).
Tips & Best Practices For Successful Social Media Ads
Whether you’ve tried a few ads that never really saw their full potential or this is your first time, below we’ve covered a comprehensive, step by step guide for running a successful social media ad campaign no matter what the goal is.
1. Decide on the Goal of the Campaign
The first and most important step to any successful ad is first deciding on what you’re trying to accomplish and the kind of results that will get you there. Consider whether you want to collect email addresses, get people to download a free ebook, lead them to your landing page where they can shop your products directly, or any other kind of desired response that will help to grow your brand and build awareness.
Once you have the goal in mind, the next step is determining the audience you’ll be targeting with your social media ad. When doing this, it pays off to narrow down the scope of your ad with demographic features to better increase your chances of converting consumers. Targeting large chunks of your audience may seem like a good idea, but it generally yields lesser results.
2. Build the Right Kind of Campaign
This step is going to be almost entirely driven by the goal of the campaign you’re creating. Many social media platforms offer advertisers a wide range of customizable options, including ad types so they can cater campaigns to specific audiences and subsets within their target market. For example, email collection ads are going to be far different from those that direct consumers to product landing pages. Depending on what your goal is, you can determine the ad structure and type of content that will best convey the message. For some, picture ads may work best, and for others, video ads will yield better results. Take advantage of all the customizable features available.
3. Choose Relevant Content
The pictures, videos, and copy you use in your ad are going to ultimately determine how effective it is. People are visual creates, and if your campaign doesn’t have an eye-catching photo or a flashy video that demands their attention, your ad is likely to get looked over and buried in the populated news feeds of social media users. By that same token, you don’t just want a picture or video that grabs attention, it also has to tie in nicely with the content and message of the ad. It has to be complementary so your audience can understand what the purpose is.
4. Set Your Budget & Schedule
Perhaps the most important step that gets overlooked often is that of setting the right budget. Make sure you know how much you have to spend before running a campaign and stick to it. Letting social media platforms take the reigns by offering to manage your bidding and bankroll is a great way to quickly rack up a bill without seeing the results you want. Next, you need to research the best days and times to run your campaign. Though this may take some time along with trial and error to perfect, automating the way your campaign runs gives you the freedom to focus on more important aspects of the business.
5. Track Results & Improve
The best part about social media ads is the plethora of free metrics that many social media platforms give you to gauge how your ad is performing. In addition, it’s always a good idea to have at least a few different versions of your campaign (A/B testing) so you can see if different copy, visuals, or ad types work better. Once the reports start coming in, you’ll be able to fine-tune your campaign so that it’s yielding the best results. In the beginning, you may not be seeing the best ROI, but as you learn more and gain experience, you’ll see a positive trend and begin harnessing the true power of social media ads. Never just “set and forget”, it’s always better to actively manage your campaigns.
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