The rise of social media as an advertising platform is redefining the online marketing landscape for small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have all jumped aboard the juggernaut – soon to be joined by Snapchat – giving advertisers more pathways than ever to target their market directly through social media.
Two clear strategies are now available: Keyword searchers ‘Pull’ ads from Google using Adwords, while advertisers ‘Push’ traffic through display ads on social newsfeeds using Twitter Cards and Facebook ads. Both methods use Pay Per Click (PPC) technology (Find out more about PPC in our blog).
The choices are welcome news for SMBs with relatively small marketing budgets who have given up on generic banner advertising due to shockingly low Click Through Rates (CTR).
While conversion rates for Google Adwords are generally higher because they are being viewed by people in research mode, targeted social media display ads commonly have a larger audience. Converting a smaller percentage of a much bigger audience potentially generates more revenue in a more cost effective way.
(Image by mkhmarketing Flickr)
For businesses with active social media profiles that focus on building trust and respect through transparency and genuine engagement, attracting new customers this way can increase brand loyalty and repeat business.
Without question, spreading the marketing spend across both the ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ channels makes sense, which is why social media advertising is beginning to have its day in the sun.
But results with both strategies can be patchy, unless advertising is accompanied by rigorous testing, frequent reviews and rapid changes. If one tactic doesn’t get results, scrap it and move onto the next.
Benefits of Facebook Ads
- Cheaper: The average Cost Per Click (CPC) of Facebook Ads is about $0.90 compared with about $2.70 for Adwords.
- Faster: Facebook ads can reach an audience quickly. Target audience can be altered and tested on the run. Campaigns are shorter, more flexible and get faster results
- Better targeting: Facebook Ads can be targeted to as broad or narrow a market as desired and can be specific to a particular campaign or as wide as an age demographic.
- Retargeting: Like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads can follow users anonymously as they travel the web if they have already clicked on an ad.
- More control: The advertiser can determine who sees the ad and how many times they click on it.
- Brand building: Facebook leverages off word-of-mouth and the concept of social proof. Noticing that a friend already “Likes” a product helps break down barriers of trust more quickly than with advertising alone.
What the numbers say
- The time mobile users are spending on Facebook is now almost the same as Google: Mobile Internet users are spending 17% of their time on Facebook compared with 18% of their time on all Google channels.
- Twitter and Facebook are topping the charts for online advertising revenue growth in the US on all devices: At 79% and 47% respectively, Twitter and Facebook are easily leaving Google’s annual ad revenue growth of 33% in the shade.
Worldwide Online Mobile ad Revenue Share
Figures in the graph above are courtesy of MarketRealist. They show a shift in spending from search engine to social network advertising. And they indicate the momentum is gaining pace.
Stats released recently in a US study by BIA/Kelsey showed small businesses spending on social media activities for a range of purposes is continuing to grow. More than half of those surveyed confirmed they had a business page on Facebook and one in five had bought a Facebook Ad or Promoted Post.
The study also found businesses were using social networks to:
- Build an online brand.
- Listen and respond to what is being said about their business.
- Recruit new employees.
These trends show social media not only generates leads for small businesses, it is a key tool for managing relationships with customers, employees and the wider public.
When combined with a strategy that seeks to add value, educate and inform an audience, businesses are seeing positive results in a range of social media marketing metrics.
It all adds up to a strong case for SMBs to include social media advertising in their marketing plans. At the very least, it’s a good way to build a base for your business on a range of social media channels and to drive traffic to your website generally or for specific campaigns.
- What is Social Media Marketing?
- Social Media Marketing: Don’t Let Your ‘But’ Get in the Way!
- Facebook Business Manager – Make Your List and Check it Twice
- How to Register Your Business on Facebook