5 tips for creating effective social media ad campaigns

Recently, we’ve been looking at how to produce great social that will stand out from the crowd. We’ve looked at whether we really need content amid a culture of ephemeral, disposable communication. Having highlighted the overriding need for great content, we then dug deeper and revealed how to perfect the timing of your social in order to further increase reach.
So now you’re feeling pretty chuffed with your social media efforts. You can see your reach increasing, people are saying nice things about your content, you’ve had better feedback than ever. And yet, when you compare your sales figures year on year, you’ve not yet smashed the proverbial ball out of the park.
In that case, you may not have yet tried paid advertising, or you’ve tried it and it seemed to produce little effect.
We advised last time to think about your product offering, to ensure that you have something that people want. If you’re not sure, then product testing is the way forward, not a social media campaign.
We then advised that Good timing will help you reach your audience, once you have something that people will want and also reminded you what Google themselves are telling us about how they rank results, and advised that you Invest some time in your content.
You’ll have read many times about how huge social media is, and how you need to grab your trumpet (or any other brass instrument you fancy) and jump on the bandwagon to success.
You will therefore not be at all surprised that Internet Stats Corp* just yesterday revealed that social media has a combined user base of 6.3 billion people and is growing by at least 2 million people every second*. Fascinatingly, $7 gazillion is spent every 9 seconds through social media ads, generating a guaranteed 237% return per user*.
Phew, convincing stuff. Well if that’s not proof enough to make you jump in on the action, then quite frankly, nothing ever will.
But here’s the problem: reading spurious statistics and blindly acting on them just leads to trouble – do buses and referendums ring any bells? We need proper data that is grounded in reality, not fictitious stats planted to drive a particular point of view.
Remember, just because social media user numbers are vast doesn’t mean that you can reach even a fraction of them. Most of them won’t even speak the same language as you. Even if you could all of them, there’s no guarantee that they would show any interest in your product, service or message.
This is important to realise. You can do all the research you want into campaigns and reach and fire out ads by the dozen, but if what you are saying is just of no interest, then no-one will engage with it.
You must think carefully about a social media ad campaign and use some real and realistic numbers in order to manage budgets and expectations before you begin.
Our checklist so far:

  1. We definitely have a great product/service/message to sell.
  2. We’ve narrowed down which consumer groups/demographics we want to target.
  3. We’ve invested time and effort to craft some great content in order to tell everyone about our great product.

Now we are ready for an internet campaign. We could go through the nuts and bolts of each platform, but that’s maybe for another time – what we will do is offer 5 tips to bide by:

5 tips for your social media ad campaign

Tip 1: Target your market carefully
Treat your advert the same as you consider your SEO.
By that we mean target your campaign using a number of variables, including geo-location, age, gender, education, workplace and specific keywords that you can specify as you wish – but make sure that you allow for a large enough audience to obtain sufficient reach. If you are too specific you will narrow your own market reach.

Tip 2: Point customers where you want them to go
Decide what you want to achieve and point customers/users to that point. If your campaign is aiming to raise awareness or sales for an event, then they must be pointed to that evet page, or directly to a ticket site.
Some of the most successful use of ads on social networks is to focus on developing deeper engagement, which in turn offers the opportunity to convert sales once conversations have started and you’ve built up some trust with potential clients. One way to develop engagement is to offer free white papers or creating a free event, like a webinar, to offer potential customers some immediate value and prove that you know what you’re talking about.
Tip 3: Set your budget
What you should never do is start trying out ads without setting parameters for spending. Facebook advertising and AdWords work similarly in that you bid for keywords and compete to get your ads shown. How effective you are at this depends upon the competitiveness of your keywords. You can choose between a cost per click (CPC) model where you pay only for clicks or a cost per thousand (CPM) model where you pay per 1000 ad views.
To start your campaign, you must determine a bid per click and daily budget. You can set both of these numbers very low, but don’t expect much initially if you do.

Tip 4: Do some testing
There is no point shelling out heaps of cash if you don’t test the success of your advertising. On most platforms this is not too difficult. You can and should create multiple ad versions so that once created, you can run similar ads and easily see which ad is performing the best based on clicks.
Question what you do constantly. If you post an image, test the ad by re-running with an alternative image. Sometimes this alone can increase the reach of your campaign.
Tip 5: Analyse your results
Once you create and launch your campaigns you need to start tracking and tweaking. All platforms have tool that give you some information on the action taken within the platform.
We’ve written previously about analysis platforms such as Google Analytics. If you want to investigate this more, you can read about 4 benefits of the platform here. This is the best platform to start off analysing and tracking the success of your new ad campaigns.
If you’ve taken your first steps to delivering an effective social media ad campaign, but maybe feel that you still some help with shaping your ads or strategy – get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
*The Internet Stats Corp and all associated statistics published in this blog are made up and therefore, obviously, should not be acted upon.

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