Paid Social Marketing

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While paid search is often the best way to capture bottom-of-the-funnel customers that are already actively seeking your product, many times there is not enough volume out there or the cost per click is just too expensive.  In these cases, paid advertising on social media can be a great alternative.  Going one step further up the funnel can open you up to an endless number of potential customers.  Even as organic post visibility has continued to decline across the channels, paid social marketing has become increasingly important.  The major social players - Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin - have increased their targeting capabilities in recent years which has provided businesses with a great deal of opportunity.  Today, if you can find and get in front of the right audience on social media, your performance can be as good if not better than paid search. 

Plus, these paid social advertising platforms are ever-expanding.  While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn remain dominant, we’re also seeing new ones arriving on the scene regularly.  Both Snapchat and Tumblr have ramped up their advertising capabilities over the past six months, as well as Instagram now targeting users through Facebook ads. What does this mean to you? Not only do you have more chances to get in front of your intended audience, but your audience is also becoming increasingly segmented. This forces you, the advertiser, to be everywhere at once to get in front of them.


Paid Social Platforms

FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

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Of all the platforms, not only does Facebook (which owns Instagram) have the largest active user base, but it has the most advanced advertising platform and targeting options.  Facebook’s features allow you to get your messaging in front of anyone from visitors to your website, to customers that have purchased from you or signed up for your newsletter, to even similar audiences based on customized data, behaviors and interests.  Whether your goal is to generate awareness, increase fans, or drive conversions, we can custom-tailor your campaign.  From the less expensive right-side ads, to the highly engaging newsfeed ads, Facebook is almost always our first stop up the funnel from paid search.

LINKEDIN

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While you can target B2B on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is primarily visited by professionals, making it designed generally for business advertising.  The pros?  If you’re the type of client who needs to reach this audience, this is your chance to target them by company size, job titles, industry, etc.  The cons?  LinkedIn’s advertising interface is currently far behind the other channels.  The CPC’s also tend to be much higher on LinkedIn due to the audience being  more specific and therefore more valuable.  Placements are also more limited –  there are two primary ad types.  Sponsored stories boost a post you’ve created, while a text ad is a typical block with copy and a thumbnail image.  What it comes down to is this: if LinkedIn’s audience is your audience, the advantage lies in the targeting.

TWITTER

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Our typical secondary recommendation for paid social advertising is Twitter.  With features similar to Facebook, it can be a great way to expand your reach.  Twitter does give a couple of unique features, like targeting TV audiences or a lead collection specific ad.  But the biggest difference is that Twitter factors in how recently a viewer has seen your message. At the end of the day, while you may end up overlapping some with the audience being reached via Facebook, Twitter is a great way to engage a younger demographic. 

SNAPCHAT

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While a lot of the Snapchat buzz has died down in previous months, last year they released their self serve ad platform and have been making regular improvements since. There are four different ad types: snap ads, web view, app install, and long form video for different marketing needs.  We have seen the most success on the app install side.  The other three offerings still have limited potential on the performance driven side where we primarily focus.  This can be a great way to reach that younger demographic though.


The Relay Approach To Paid Social

Our team considers paid social media a highly effective performance-based advertising channel. While we will manage your advertising campaigns to build likes and followers, we want to make sure we have a clear value on what those things are worth to you.  We primarily recommend managing the campaigns to drive conversions first, believing that this will generate incremental fans and followers as an added value over time.

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In paid search, a successful campaign is driven by finding the right keywords and developing messaging around them.  In paid social, your keywords are replaced with your audience.  If you can find the right audience, paid social campaigns can be incredibly successful and even generate a higher return than paid search.  That’s why we start here.  If you have enough existing customers, fans, or followers, we will build our initial audiences off of them.  If not, we learn as much as we can about you, your product, and your target audience, and we build as many small groups off of that as we can to test which will work.  Once we get the audience down, we continually test messaging and images to increase performance.


Where We See Others Fail

Too many other agencies view paid social as a channel only useful for generating followers and targeting a broad audience.  This can result in two things.  One, you can blow a lot of money real quick.  Two, if your ads don’t garner engagement (because your audience is too large), your ads won’t get shown much and when they do, the cost will be much higher than it should be.  The beginning of a campaign at Relay Paid Media is entirely focused on finding the most engaging audience that will bring you the highest return.  We plan our budget, starting first with one social network and expanding if – and only if – we have the budget to make it work.  

For B2C clients, we’ll start with Facebook and Twitter; For B2B, it’s often LinkedIn. Regardless, if you’re primarily promoting content, promoting the wrong content can hurt you.  We learn from organic post engagement data and promote only the highest performing and engaging content.  The free audience is the test audience before an investment is made into increasing the reach of the content. In this way, our team can start maximizing your effectiveness on social media channels long before you spend a dime on advertisements. 


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