There’s been a lot of coverage lately focused on social advertising. While many brands have seen varied results, and generally have varied objectives, one thing is for certain: social advertising is here to stay and it is rapidly advancing.
Today we are going to cover trends in social advertising, the benefits for small businesses to advertise on Google and Facebook, some potential points to be cautious on and where the majority of businesses will gain the most bang for their buck. Think real-time answers to people on mobile devices, wherever they are.
- Benefits of Google
- Benefits of Facebook
While advertisers are still trying to figure out how and what to execute, sites like facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are responding.
That said, the first benefit is that all of the social platforms are investing in advertising technology, making their platforms greater at self-serve, exchange based and direct buys. This is good news for the advertiser as your ability to reach your ideal audience and learn from campaigns are greatly growing in value.
This response has spawned new initiates where many large advertisers have at least ‘tested’ social media advertising and are either expanding on their initiatives, re-testing what platforms offer today or are coming up with creative ways to engage audiences on social media. As we can see, about 10% of dollars spent in strong holiday & commerce month of December. While you may not see Google as one of the social media advertising contenders on the red pie chart on the left, YouTube actually represents a Google company. Beyond that, in the parent chart on the right hand side, Google Search and Display represent the larger part of their respective networks. Combined, Google plays a great role in the digital user experience.
With Google’s control over search, display and expanding social offerings, it continues to spend its focus on making the mobile experience finely tuned. Tremendous efforts are going into capturing what you are looking for while on your smartphone. Google has at least three advantages that serve the advertiser well here:
- Advertising tenure – advertising is in Google’s DNA. Not outbound, but rather the ecosystems that let advertising happen on the internet. That makes for a well-tested, effective slew of options to advertise.
- Size – Google’s networks span a single app or website. They are found everywhere across the internet. This gives advertiser a vast network to find their ideal audience(s) for every objective.
- Ubiquitous integration with [mobile] hardware – Google perhaps, understands the business it is in and the direction it is going greater than most. By controlling the mobile experience with its Android platform, it can ensure continued user interest across digital mediums. It’s certainly a strong and multichannel approach to Facebook’s monopoly of the ‘digital identity’.
While tenure makes for a greater advertiser and user experience, the size of Google’s presence tends to be a huge benefit for advertisers. Want people to know about your products? Use Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Want customers to know what time you are open and where you are located? Use Google Search, ads will show up on desktop, tablet or mobile. Want to generate brand awareness? Or bring a customer back to your site? Use Google Display & remarketing. The opportunities of reaching the right customers within the right context are endless, and Google is making sure it stays in position to do so.
With 57% of budgets, Facebook captures the majority of social advertising. This will be something to keep a close eye on. As other social players come to the table, how will advertisers choose to spend their money? My advice is to give thought to how customers currently or may engage with your brand online. Facebook provides an environment where you can leverage sponsored stories, page post ads and standard Facebook ads to audiences. You can learn more about the different types of Facebook ads over here.
Figure 3Nielsen, 2012; http://www.tednguyenusa.com/social-media-experiences-explosive-growth-on-mobile-devices/
One of the most important recent opportunities to advertise on Facebook has been tied to this expanded set of ad types. The team at Facebook advertising has recognized it has many ways to connect the advertiser with the customer in a social setting and it is facilitating them. Want to incentivize customers to more frequently visit your store or restaurant? Use check-in offers. Want to show users’ friends if they installed your app, liked your post or liked your page? Use sponsored stories to drive this message virally to people within these same groups.
There are numerous potential pitfalls to approaching social media advertising, or online advertising in general for that matter. For starters, if you are unfamiliar or new to the territory, explore resources. If you have a budget, you may certainly have dollars to spend on professional assistance. At whatever level it may be, finding the right company to assist you may greatly influence whether your campaigns are successful or not. And this can mean the difference of wasting budgets and seeing very little ROI to understanding what your target marketing budget can truly yield. The two biggest costs are time and money. Both can be attributed to financial value, whether opportunity costs or direct dollars being spent on social media advertising.
Some key factors to address as you get started, are:
- Identifying campaign objectives
- Setting a budget & timeframe
- Stakeholders & duties
- Identify targeting: audiences, interests and locations
- Building out messaging & offers for these objectives
- Measurement, testing & optimization
- What success looks like
Now of course this list is by no means all-encompassing, yet it is however an important group of items to address as many approaching for the first time will do a combination of these, but not necessarily all together. In doing so, you can expect to be well-planned, executed and insightful about your advertising program. The added benefit here is that beyond any quantitative results achieved, qualitative insights will be gained from your campaigns about your customers, prospects and advertising channels.
In Paid Search, Google owns around 70% of the market, where Bing Ads controls most of the rest. While many advertisers only choose to focus on Google as it has the lion’s share, this could be a costly mistake as you are tuning out nearly 1/3 of your potential audience. Additionally, the playing fields are different. As many do not think to advertise on Bing Ads, competition can be sparse at times, leaving a blue ocean of opportunity with lower CPCs, higher ad positions and more ideal advertising circumstances. I encourage you to not necessarily choose Google or Facebook, but rather, choose how much you want to break down your budget for each. Again, with Google owning the majority of online advertising experiences for users, use that as a guide for a starting point.
Have you tested ads on Google, Facebook, Bing or somewhere else? We’d love to hear your experience.
About the Author: Erik Ford is Head of Product for the leading creative optimization platform, BoostCTR in San Francisco. For nearly 10 years he has been trusted as a partner for leading, fixing & advising businesses from seed stage to mergers & acquisitions. Erik is best known for building products, reporting & analytics platforms, monetizing big data & driving strategic partnerships that truly impact revenue potential for clients & organizations.
At a glance, Erik has driven data science, big data & advanced analytics for publishers and networks such as Walmart, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. In working with these partners, he has driven advertiser campaign strategy, analytics and optimization for every Fortune 500 client in Search, Social and Display.
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