Social media ads are some of the most effective ways to reach an audience. In an age when more people are online than ever before, platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become a vital tool for both consumers and the companies hoping to engage with them.
These networks play a vital role in every stage of the customer journey. At the beginning, they are the most common way to find inspiration for purchases, with 37% of consumers using them for this purpose. However, when it comes to the later stages of the buyer journey, many companies find they need to make use of ads.
However, this is easier said than done. A well-tailored social ad strategy can be unbelievably effective, but if you find you’re struggling in this area, it could be because you’ve neglected one of a few fundamental facets:
1. Research, research, research
It’s often said that research is the most important aspect of marketing, and that’s certainly true when it comes to social media. Audience research is especially important - we’ll come to that later - but most companies already know this. However, comparatively little attention is paid to researching the most effective types of content to include within your marketing campaign.
For example, did you know that posts teaching your audience something new engage around 47% of users, but are only shared by 34%? In comparison, inspirational posts are both engaged with and shared by 44% of social media users. Clearly the two types of content appeal to different demographics.
Good research will even help you determine the best time to share your social posts. Research from Sprout Social has determined that Wednesdays at 1pm and Fridays at 11am are the best times to post on Facebook if you’re selling consumer goods, whereas media firms are better off posting on Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings.
2. Select your audience
The next step is to decide who your ads are going to target. For most social platforms, you can narrow your range down to a very specific group of people, designated by age, location, interests and more. For example, if you sell wedding dresses you might want to select women who have just announced an engagement as your audience.
The fact you’ve chosen to advertise on social media in the first place means your audience will have been partially selected for you. You should generally be aiming to target a younger audience, as social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of generation Z and 42% of millennials, compared to less than a quarter of older demographic groups.
You can gain a lot more insight into these demographic groups as well, as you’ll find many are more than willing to talk to you about their likes, dislikes and other elements of their personality. Salesforce found that 63% of millennials are willing to share personal data in return for personalized offers or discounts, so this could be a way to gain useful information.
3. Tailor your ads
Now you know who you’re targeting, you need to create your ads with them specifically in mind. This is important, as personalization is something consumers are increasingly demanding. Only 22% are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive while shopping, and as seen above, many users are prepared to give up their data in order to get it.
You will know your audience at this point, so create everything with them in mind. Remember, you can create multiple adverts targeted to different groups, enabling you to tweak your copy based on its intended audience. Different content types are also worth considering, with video posts achieving more than double the engagement rate of simple links.
4. Measure, test and learn
Finally, you need to measure absolutely everything. Pay close attention to how your ads are performing, and try to draw insights from this data where possible. If something isn’t working, compare it to ads that are experiencing success. What is different, and what is the same? Comparing them in this way will help you assess how to improve them.
“By looking at click-through rates, cost-per-clicks and actual conversions, you can start seeing which audience is most attracted to your product or service and how much money it will take to reach them.” - Laura Troyani, Principle, PlanBeyond