Over the past several years, social media platforms have evolved into a marketing and promotional vessel. Approximately 53% of the world’s population is using these platforms. Thus, it is vital to have a social media presence. However, you must be wondering, on a free-to-use platform, why should you pay to advertise your content? Are Paid Social Media Advertisements Worth It?
Well, let’s examine the positives and negatives of paid advertising. And while doing so, also learn how to be effective in your advertisements, should you choose to proceed.
POSITIVES OF PAID ADVERTISING
Social media platforms charge you on the basis of Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Cost Per Lead (CPL) or Click Through Rate (CTR) based on your bidding model.
Overall, this is a very organic way to charge for advertising as you will only be paying for audience interactions. The great thing about social media advertising is that it can fit with any budget restriction. The current industry average is to spend between $200 to $350 per day however, this is not restricted to you.
To be strategic, a business should start off with a small advertising budget for exploration and analytical purposes. After you have understood the platform and its advertising tools, you can think of increasing your budget; and focusing your campaign specifically on the content you have gotten positive reviews on.
Magnified Consumer Reach
With approximately 2 billion people on Facebook daily, it is nearly impossible to gain organic reach. Luckily, with the assistance of social media tools, your content will be placed directly to your audience’s feeds. Thus, despite the high traffic on social platforms, paid ads can provide a path for awareness, engagement, exposure, website traffic, etc. by an amplified digital reach.
Specific Targeting & Brand Awareness
The great thing about social media advertising is that your advertisements can be extremely targeted. These platforms have provided an abundance of tools in order for you to specifically target your intended audience. Social media sites such as Facebook can target your core, custom and/or lookalike audiences based on your campaign’s goal.
Core Audience: Core audience are people who fit your businesses selected customer demographics, psychographics, personality types, lifestyle, interests etc.
Custom Audience: Custom audience are those who have already interacted with your business either online or offline. There are tools to allow you to find those existing customers for advertisement targeting.
Lookalike Audience: Lookalike audience are those who are similar to your current customers. You can build your lookalike customer and target people who you think would be interested in your products if they were exposed to your brand. Targeting lookalike customers can increase awareness significantly.
Extensive Analytical Tools
It is extremely important to measure the return you gained from your campaign. Unlike traditional marketing vehicles, social media advertising offers you a wide range of metrics to analyze. Some of these metrics include reach, engagement, clickthrough rate, active users, ROI, etc.
It is important to extensively analyze metrics in order to understand what to adjust, what went well, and to know whether your investment was worth it. Based on the goal of your campaign, select certain metrics to look at since not all will be applicable.
NEGATIVES OF PAID ADVERTISING
Heavy Resource Usage
Although your advertisements will reach your audience’s feeds, it is still important to make a great campaign in order to entice people to interact. Therefore, you need to allocate resources to produce high quality, creative content. Depending on your business, you may also need a social media coordinator who monitors daily performance and much more. Furthermore, constant testing and adapting your content also takes significant time and resources.
Although the amount of resources needed is subject to your business and its restrictions, it is certain that social media ads do take significant time and resources. However, with a collaborative team, calculated budget and time, allocating resources efficiently for advertisement will not be your biggest concern.
Negative Publicity & Loss of Control
Many people will be exposed to your content through paid ads. As a result, not everyone may interact with your campaign in a positive manner. If some influential personals give a bad comment or review on your posts, it can cause negative publicity for your company.
Unfortunately, if you were to be associated with negative publicity it could go viral. It can also result in the loss of narrative for your brand, thus diluting your brand voice. You can potentially lose control if people have formed negative thoughts and expressed them on a large scale.
To ensure lower negative publicity, make sure to create great content that your users will appreciate. To add on, fix and adjust posts constantly based on consumer reactions.
Bad press can sometimes work to your benefit in terms of brand awareness. However, it mostly will affect your brand image, customer loyalty, etc. Hence, it is important to constantly listen to your audience and adjust your content.
With the growth of social media as a marketing platform, the number of companies using paid ads are increasing on a daily basis. Considering this, there is a big pool of competitors to fight with to get your ad noticed by your audience. Through paid ads, your content will be displayed on your users’ feed; but then it depends on whether your content is worth interacting with, considering the thousands of ads people see on a daily basis.
There are a few things you could do to overcome this problem. First off, you can increase your budget and purchase the higher bidding model in order to have your ads shown more frequently to your consumers. Furthermore, it is vital to create content that will catch your audience’s attention.
It is very important to use social media tools appropriately to determine your audience. If your posts are shown to the wrong audience pool, they will never be noticed since no one will be interested. Thus, make sure to do a lot of research into understanding your audience type to properly target the people who will be interested in your content.
If you want to know more about how to gain attention to your content watch the video below!
Considering the positives and negatives of social media advertising, is it worth paying for advertisements on a free platform?
YES… if executed the right way!
The gains from social media advertising are phenomenal. Even if your campaign were to fail, with such extensive metrics available, it’s great for research purposes. Finding the right platform where your audience is, and running advertisements on those platforms will allow you to accomplish the goals you have established for your campaign.
So… Do you think paid social media advertisements are worth it?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dishti Zaveri is a Brand Marketing Analyst intern at the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ and a fourth-year student at Schulich School of Business.