Why You Need Social Advertising

February 16, 2016
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Follow these three guidelines to get the most from your social advertising investment.

Social marketers who rely solely on organic reach and engagement risk irrelevance unless they incorporate paid social advertising into their strategy. Knowing this, Anheuser-Busch set out to determine whether it could successfully use Facebook advertising to increase preference and revenue. The campaign put paid advertising support behind the brand’s best-performing organic Facebook page posts to amplify them, which led to a 3.3% uplift in sales.

Social marketers will benefit by understanding the social network advertising landscape, organizing to effectively execute paid social advertising and being ready to demonstrate return on investment, noted Jay Wilson, research director, Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

Social advertising generally falls into two categories: paying for amplification of specific posts and using social networks as media outlets in a broader advertising campaign.

Here are three guidelines to get the most out of your social advertising program.

Set measurable objectives

Is the goal of your social marketing trying to overcome declines in reach and engagement, reach new audiences or drive social commerce? Regardless of objective, make sure measurement tools are in place before launching a social advertising campaign.

Remember that market research is required to measure lifts in awareness or consideration. For retailers, measuring improved conversion will require tying together online and offline data, and becomes more complex for consumer packaged goods brands whose sales are intermediated by retailers.

Organize teams and processes

Siloing social advertising initiatives and teams from broader advertising efforts puts efficiency, consistency and the brand at risk, said Mr. Wilson. Instead, integrate social marketing management platforms with ad tech platforms to gain the speed necessary for social advertising success. Because media planning, buying and optimization expertise isn’t a core skill set of social marketing teams, partner and coordinate with seasoned internal or agency media pros.

Capitalize on targeting

Social marketers often find immediate benefit through enhanced targeting because social advertising accelerates their existing strategy. Targeting reaches very specific audiences across devices, based on affinities and other social data points. Dynamic product ads further create relevance by using cookie data to inform content delivery.

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