Social Media Advertising – What Do You Think?
Is advertising on social media platforms a passing fad? No. Is using social media to capture attention of a potential customer equivalent to hitting a target in the dark? Not if you know the right techniques. Can social media advertising help only to create awareness about a product/service? Again, no – it’s much more than providing mere visibility. No matter what your doubt or apprehension, the truth is that social media marketing is here to stay. The world is sitting up and taking notice of this tangible driver for sales that can produce a remarkable ROI.
If social media has positioned itself as an important player in the advertising game, it is worth the time to at least get an idea about what channels exist for social media advertising, how these channels target potential customers, how social advertising helps to generate demand, and what metrics help in measuring the effectiveness of any social marketing campaign.
There are many social networking platforms that companies use for advertising. But the four most common and popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Hundreds of millions of people visit these platforms every day where they have created individual profile pages. They use this page to network with their contacts and interact with them and also to blog, microblog, post videos / photos and podcasts.
As you can understand, there is a whole gamut of information out there about people, which includes their preferences, behaviour and choices. Social media advertising companies are leveraging this information to proactively mark specific audiences by looking at their self-reported interests, activities and users they have engaged with. Using a social media platform, it is possible for an advertising company to target say a single, working, female in the age group of 30-40 years for its fashion products or identify new mothers or target people with specific interest like fitness and food. The possibilities are literally endless.
After the target audience is marked, advertisers create ads on a social network’s newsfeed. However, these ads are not just words like in the usual ad words campaign. Ads on social networks are relevant, compelling, engaging and visual delights. It is said, “Ad words are about demand fulfilment but social media is about fulfilling a need the audience has although they are not actively searching for it”. Just the other day, there appeared an ad on my Facebook newsfeed – 2016’s must-read books. Now, I am an avid reader. I was not actively searching for books to read, but the advertisers clearly targeted interests and demographics to present me with content that will stand out to me whilst I scroll through my newsfeed.
After the ad has sufficiently engaged the target audience, the critical part is to understand the conversion rate. When the target audience clicks on such ads in their newsfeed, they are directed to a specific landing page where they can ‘convert’, i.e. initiate an action that the advertiser wants (e.g. install apps, sign up or download images). The rate of visits to the landing page from the ads gives an idea of the quality of the campaign. The ratio of money spent on ads to number of conversions gives a view whether the social ad campaign was successful and allows to project the future outlay on such ad campaigns.