I’ve been talking lately about Social Advertising. After a couple of years playing with it, I am happy to say Social Advertising has revealed itself as a fantastic tool to identify ROI streams.
In fact, social networks seem to have fully grasped what was the question most decision makers were asking. What’s the ROI of Social Media?
I’ve delivered a presentation to a crowd of 1100 people (700 live) during a Webinar about increasing the reach of social activities and measuring the impact.
I am going to write down some of those thoughts as they are applicable to most businesses experimenting with social.
Before I start though, I’ll make a couple of assumptions:
1. You understand the true spirit of social media where good content is king, spam is a virus and continuous self promotion is a terrible idea.
2. You have a clear funnel in place for the social channels you set up. You have a store on your Facebook page to sell products (if that is your objective), you schedule promotions via Twitter, you designed your blog really well with a clear call to action to your conversion page.
3 Common Problems
Assuming you’ve done the above, a common scenario is that you will immediately face 3 problems.
1. You want more people to follow you, Like you, subscribe to you – you want to increase the reach of your activities. Having your friends and family to join your Facebook page won’t be enough if you are a marketing professional.
2. You want the right people to follow you, only those that will buy (if your objective is to sell) or will be genuinely interested in participating (if your objective is to build awareness through great content).
3. You want to know what worked and what didn’t, you want to invest in the channels that work for you, not where the hype is.
These issues are usually solved by devoting large budgets to agencies, who seldom really deliver. Well I am here to tell you that you do have an alternative called social advertising
Introducing Social Advertising
What is Social Advertising?
Social Advertising exposes social media friendly content to more people via means of ads, sponsored content, promoted updates.
The main differences with other types of online advertising, such as paid search ie Google Adwords and Display Ads are as follows:
The 1st difference is that the target of social ads is indeed social media friendly (blog posts, facebook, pages, videos) instead of a traditional landing pages, more focused on conversion, for example the page where you sell your product.
The 2nd difference is about innovative metrics revolving around engagement such as Likes, Retweets that give measurability to non-monetary objectives.
What is the impact of Social Advertising?
Let’s look at some statistics that eMarketer put together:
Problem no.1, How do I drive more people to my pages?
Via targeted social ads.
I’ve laid out a nice table for you that summarises my experience with such tools.
On the first column you’ll find the type of content you are trying to push.
The second column highlights the best tool for that specific content.
The third column will give you an overview of what type of objectives such platforms serve better whether it is conversion or engagement. Some channels have stronger conversion potential, some others drive more engagement and therefore represent a better opportunity to influence awareness and perception.
Problem no.2, How do I drive the right people to my pages?
You are probably asking yourself whether it’ll all be a waste of time and that in fact you will get exposure but not to the right audience,
I invite you to drop the b2b vs b2c mentality, it does not apply when thinking social advertising. Social Networks have in fact created amazing tools to target users on the basis of their interest.
Therefore if you are marketing a gardening product, you will be able to target those interested in gardening whether the use the tool for business or pleasure.
Of course there is a major difference in the main purpose of Facebook and Linkedin, but if you play well with advanced targeting and you have a defined persona that usually buys your product, you will be able to substantially narrow down campaigns.
Problem no.3, Where is my ROI?
Most of these tools offer great analytics that will tell you exactly what you have generated through your campaigns.
They also introduce new metrics such as retweets or likes and give a monetary value to it.
This is in fact the revolution not lots of people understand. Scoping tools within Facebook or Twitter advertsing platforms give you an exact idea of how much a tweet or a like will cost.
Here is a sample of the metrics available:
– Click Through Rate (CTR)
– Facebook Likes
– StumbleUpon Score (% Thumb up/Thumb Down)
– StumbleUpon Likes
– StumbleUpon Reviews
– Youtube Comments
– Youtube Likes
Once you identified the costing of both you will then be able to work out what each campaign cost, what level of engagement it generated and how much money did it convert into.
No timelines, no undecifrable man-hour models.
A Sample Case Study
This brings me to elaborate on a sample case study summing up my experience with these tools over the past 2 years. Unfortunately I can’t be more precise as some data is under NDA but I can definitely share these 3 findings:
1. Outreach campaigns performed by agencies/consultants/experts/gurus etc tend to cost substantially more. At the end of the day I was able to establish how much does a generated tweet cost!
2. Most of the platforms give you organic opportunities. A promoted tweet can in fact be retweeted, a page can be liked by a user’s friend who saw the update on their wall or a StumbleUpon internal recommendation system.
3. Content with more traffic indexes better in Google. I’ve proven this on a number of projects and the amount of traffic you generate through these tools is increasingly having an impact within Google’s algorithm.
Photo by Hugo 90