With nearly 3.96 billion people across the globe using social media, businesses now have the opportunity to reach half the world’s population through paid social media advertising. It’s an incredible audience size for any organization — small or large — yet it can’t be the only deciding factor for launching a campaign. That’s why we’ve mapped out the various benefits and challenges of using paid social media advertising in this blog. Read through each one, share with your team, and consider whether or not this is a strategy that adds value to your online efforts.
The Benefits of Using Paid Social Media Advertising
In 2020, businesses spent $40 billion on paid social advertising. By 2020, advertisers are expected to spend $56 billion. The reason for the increase — the benefits. While companies experience their own levels of success, there are a few main advantages you can expect when advertising on social platforms.
Increased Reach – Given the massive audience size on social media, there is plenty of opportunity to reach more people than you would with organic content.
Improved Targeting – As one of the major benefits of paid social advertising, targeting helps you narrow in on your specific audience by behaviors, activities, preferences, locations, job titles, and interests. Your ads will display for users who are most aligned to your ideal buyers, instead of a broad audience that may or may not be interested in your content. Additionally, this information can be used for retargeting ads.
Speed to Market – As with any paid advertising, you can quickly get content launched for immediate viewing. As soon as your campaign is live, ads will begin displaying to users on the social platforms you’ve chosen.
Greater Content Visibility – You don’t have to wait for people to come to you. With ads, you can put your content in front of them with the frequency and budget you control.
More Website or In-Person Traffic – Increased traffic to your website is another benefit of paid social advertising, which can help you boost conversions on your website pages. If you have a storefront, then ads can help get more people to your retail location.
Strengthens Online Presence – As social media users see your ads, you can build a presence and awareness for your brand as people continue to see your content on platforms where they spend their time.
Whether you’re looking to reach, engage, or sell on social media, paid advertising can be a smart vehicle with many benefits. However, there can also be some challenges associated with this channel, which are equally important to consider.
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The Challenges of Paid Social Advertising
Challenges exist with any advertising initiative, and paid social media is no different. Nevertheless, typically the advantages of these ads typically outweigh the disadvantages. Here are a few of the obstacles that businesses may encounter along the way:
Choosing Platforms – When it comes to social advertising, the platform makes all the difference. If you choose a platform where your audience doesn’t spend much time, then you’re wasting ad dollars and, quite frankly, your time. Be sure you know who your audience is, where they spend time on social media, and what their intent is on those platforms. That way, you can select a platform that should give you the best return.
Creating Realistic Goals – Before you embark on a paid social campaign, you’ll want to establish goals that are realistic for your business. Otherwise, you could be setting your campaigns up to disappoint your team and decision makers.
Determining KPIs – It can be challenging to determine the best KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your paid social media advertising efforts, but it’s an essential step in making the most of your budget. This article lays out some of the basic paid social metrics, like impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Increased Competition – The opportunities of advertising on social media are not lost on other companies. It’s a popular way to promote, which means you can expect more competition for ad space on social platforms.
Managing Budget – It’s important to stay on top of how your budget is being allocated across platforms, how much you’re paying per click, and how frequently your ads are displayed. This can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of paid social, but a PPC specialist can do the job for you.
User Data Tracking – Apple has created a new challenge for advertisers with the recent introduction of its opt-in prompts for apps. These pop-ups will display in each individual app, giving iOS users the opportunity to opt-in to tracking of their activity. This is expected to cause significant barriers to user data and advertising on social media platforms, as more users choose to deny access to their data.
Given these challenges, it’s essential for businesses to plan for these considerations in order to have a positive experience with social advertising. It may also benefit the organization to work with an experienced PPC specialist who understands how social advertising works on different platforms, how to measure performance and manage campaigns, and adjust campaigns according to what’s working and what’s not.
Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad.
As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.