At the end of every year, marketers gather ‘round in Facebook groups, Twitter chats or comment chains on agency blogs to make predictions about changes afoot in the coming months. Topping the trend lists for 2015 were content marketing as an integrated, company-wide strategy, like Kevin has written about before, and the shift in allocation of digital marketing budgets from primarily social media management and monitoring to paid advertising on social media platforms.
In fact, a study done in partnership between Adobe and the CMO Council found that 53 percent of senior marketers are currently spending part of their digital dollars on social media community growth and engagement. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not news to you. It’s likely that you’re part of the 53 percent. But if you’re also a frequent purveyor of M/C/C’s marketing intel for marketing experts, then you’re well aware that organic community growth and engagement on the largest and most traditional social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, has plateaued and very quickly – like as quickly as you can say, “I-P-O!” – and has become a pay-to-play game.
As a proud Facebook account holder circa September 2004 and an early adopter when it comes to social media (Hello, Ello!), I have two reads on this paradigm shift. The bad news: the best things in life aren’t free, after all. The good news: they’re pretty darn affordable, though! We’ve been strategically planning and implementing paid social media campaigns for a variety of B2B and B2C clients using Facebook and Twitter’s self-serve platforms for more than a year now, and have seen incredible results in every case – including our own.
We’ve implemented unique campaigns with individual messaging to support separate goals such as growing a Facebook page with the right fans during the discovery phase of the funnel and then nurturing the acquisitions with promoted posts during the consideration phase. As long as we’re targeting correctly, these social communities are built of prospective customers whose interests align with our clients’ product and service offerings at every step of the way. Where one client’s average spend on converting a lead through online advertising could swing north of $40, our targeted social media ads were able to get our messaging in front of them for a mere $0.25 a pop.
That’s not to say that one program should be scrapped in favor of the other. On the contrary, they are great complements to each other when running in tandem, work to establish brand consistency and strive to achieve the greatest action that a prospect can make based on the situation and environment in which they’re viewing each type of ad.
With costs as low as a quarter per action, it could be hard to believe that the CMO Council cites eMarketer as uncovering that worldwide social network ad spending reached $16.10 billion last year marking a 45.3 percent increase over 2013. Just to recap – that’s the spending number before we officially entered the year of social advertising! Now that we’re six months in, I bet you’re curious to hear about what we’ve seen so far on that front.