Why Social Advertising?

Social advertising has been around much longer than social media: before the advent of online social networking, companies took advantage of real-world relationships, word-of-mouth, and social cues in advertisements to promote business, all of which are considered means of social advertising. Savvy marketers know that social advertising is an essential type of promotion because consumers pay close attention to the opinions of other consumers, and social media has made it that much easier to use this human connection to promote business growth.

Social media advertising has continued to grow rapidly over the past decade, and its potential for advertising only increases each year. According to BIA/Kelsey, a research and advisory company focused on local advertising, by 2017, social advertising spend in the US is expected to reach $11 billion. This is more than double the $4.7 billion spent in 2012.   And eMarketer found that as a percentage of overall worldwide digital advertising spend, social is also showing sustained growth, from 9.4% in 2013 up to 16% projected by 2017.

Let’s explore some of the specific reasons marketers are, or should be, part of this important trend.

1. Unprecedented Targeting Options

The first major benefit for a company in growing their brand’s presence on social media is the sheer number of targeting options available. Whatever a business’s target audience, it is somewhere on social media, where you can make your ads accessible.

2. CPM and CPC Remain an Affordable Bid Option

The bang for the buck in social advertising is huge. In 2014, Chris Garrett, Digital Director at KND, presented some interesting numbers about social advertising returns. According to Garrett, if a business spends $500 on paid advertising through Google, they can get roughly 6 weeks of advertising. However, if they spend $500 on social advertising, they will get up to 14 weeks of advertising.

3. The End of Organic Reach in Social Marketing

“Organic reach,” as an online marketing term, is a brand’s ability to naturally reach its target audience through organic (not sponsored) search results Companies who used this new platform early in its existence were able to take advantage of organic reach in a unique new way: by posting photo, text, or video content on Facebook or Twitter, a company could increase brand awareness for no cost. Users of that network who were fans or followers of that particular company would share content posted by the brand, and that content then had the potential to reach more and more new customers who were previously unaware of the company.

A few years ago, however, Facebook changed the game about what kinds of content get visibility and engagement. Visibility of content in a user’s news feed is now determined by many more factors than previously, and of course paid promotion of content weighs heavily in the mix.

4. Mobile is Key

One thing is certain in the world of digital marketing: every quarter, more traffic is coming from mobile platforms and devices. Analytic data by Intelligent Positioning predicts that mobile will soon completely overtake desktop traffic. By advertising on social media sites, companies can utilize a proven and effective way of reaching people on mobile devices, without spending time and resources on design and implementation. The platforms have already been designed and streamlined to be mobile-centric. These platforms produce “responsive” content – which dynamically adapts to the device in use. These days, a social strategy is a mobile strategy.

5. Advertising Options

With social marketing, brands can now increase their awareness through interactions with customers in a personal and relatable space. Marketing is no longer one-sided, but a two-way dialogue between the consumer and the brand. The most important advantage of social marketing is that a brand that has a well-developed voice can extend its reach beyond its promotional content.

By utilizing many different advertising options and communicating with customers on a human level, companies can appeal to customers who are not initially interested in buying that particular product, but who just enjoy the brand’s voice, posts, and overall personality. In this manner, companies can create demand where demand did not necessarily exist.

6. Reaching Every Customer – Next Door or Across the Globe

Social marketing can benefit every business, whether its target audience is its immediate area only (hyper-local) or the entire world.   With social marketing, companies can build and direct campaigns toward just the immediate area surrounding the place of business—which is a great strategy if the business is a local restaurant or shop. If the company is an e-commerce marketplace or another business that is accessible and marketable on a global scale, the company can build a social media campaign to appeal to people in many different countries.

7. Social Amplification

Finally, social marketing presents the unique opportunity for social amplification. Social amplification is a means of multiplying marketing efforts and making a company’s marketing dollar go exponentially further. When this happens customers are transformed into consumer advocates. Through social marketing, a brand can develop “fans,” or people who are highly loyal to the brand and excited to share it with their own social media followers, friends, and family. If the audience the company reaches responds well to the message they are putting out, the brand’s followers on social media will share this with their friends, who in turn could potentially become consumer advocates themselves. Using social marketing correctly, brand awareness can potentially multiply repeatedly, free of charge, in an unprecedented way.

Time to Get Social

Every year, marketing becomes increasingly digitized, and digital content continues to change and evolve. Luckily for consumers, companies are putting less money into one-sided advertising methods like print ads and television commercials, and opting for more catered marketing campaigns that are capable of targeting the right customers at the right time and place. Although this can be done to some extent through ad retargeting, SEO, and backlinks, there is much more marketing potential to be unlocked in real-time social advertising. Social networks work on the same basic principles that have encouraged people to shop and to buy throughout the ages: personal interaction, reviews from family and friends, and in-depth information about products. Now, through social media websites, companies have easy access to this wide variety of tried-and-true marketing techniques that can help them appeal to many different types of customers in nearly every geographic location, and from nearly every demographic. Ultimately, social media is here to stay, and companies will not only benefit greatly from getting on board, but must get on board to compete in today’s marketplace.