You have undoubtedly heard the hype in recent years regarding social media advertising, digital marketing, and what it can do for your business.
But what’s the real deal with social?
Is it everything people are saying it is? Will posting to social sites really do anything for your business’ bottom line? Is this really the best way to advertise your brand to new people?
The relevance of social media in our daily lives has become greater with each passing year. In 2019, social media users in the US alone number around 223 million. That’s a large majority of the entire country present on social media!
Consumers discover new brands and connect with businesses more frequently through digital platforms than by any other type of advertising. This year, 2019, is the first year where digital adspend will completely eclipse the adspend off all other traditional marketing methods.
This trend is here to stay and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. It is estimated that by 2023, digital adspend will account for nearly 70% of total advertising dollars spent across the board.
So where does social media advertising succeed and traditional marketing falter?
That’s simple; the data.
While traditional marketing has always been able to nail down the basics, such as a radio station’s listenership, a television station’s viewers, or a city’s regional demographics, the data was severely limited and lacking.
What does social media advertising provide that traditional marketing cannot?
Social media advertising puts hundreds of advanced individual data points directly at your fingertips. You can narrow down your target audience more specifically now than ever before. This is one aspect that makes social media advertising more effective than anything else, and this is something traditional marketing simply cannot provide.
The days of writing the television ad salesman a check and crossing your fingers are long, long gone.
“But if you’ll just buy 6 commercial spots at $4,000 each, we’ll give you a 10% discount on the 7th!”
Social media advertising allows you to target your content to only the exact people that are most likely to become a customer. Since you’re able to eliminate the need of casting such a large net, you’re able to put your content in front of only the right people at a significantly lower cost.
While traditional marketing costs can vary depending on the type of content you produce, your local market, and the medium you select, social media has the lowest CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) among all methods.
Reaching 1000 prospective new customers through a print ad campaign may cost you $500 or more.
That same feat can be accomplished on Facebook for about $9.
A television ad may cost you $1500 or more per 1000 people it reaches, and a billboard in California can cost up to $20,000 per month.
After participating in an advertising campaign with one of these traditional methods, you have put your brand out there but you have gained none of the important data necessary to make your next campaign even more successful.
You’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, gained no new subscribers to your mailing list, your brand visibility is limited, many customers with questions or concerns simply ignored your ad because while their interest may have been piqued you weren’t able to follow up with them.
At the end of all that, your customers, and all your new potential customers, will still want and expect you to have a presence on social media.
Social media advertising is not only the most cost effective way to reach people, or the method that will provide the most important data, but it offers your business another advantage to traditional marketing.
Social media lets you place your content where your potential customers want to see it.
When you advertise on social media you are able to develop a 1 on 1 form of marketing.
All other types of marketing give the audience content on the brand’s timeline without consideration for the viewers desires.
While you’re watching television you don’t want to see an ad for diapers, you just want your show to return. When you are listening to the radio as you drive to the grocery store you don’t want to hear about all the great deals on used trucks this Sunday at the used truck auto emporium.
You just want dinner.
When you are able to leverage advanced data to provide relevant content in a way that the consumer can digest it at the time and place they choose, you’ve created a win-win.
It’s about building a community.
Social media advertising is about more than simply showing a 30 second highlight of your product while you hold your viewer hostage waiting for their show to return.
When your content is delivered to the platform where your potential customer most enjoys receiving content, a place they can engage with your business and others with similar interests, and quickly and easily discover additional information about your brand at the simple press of a button, you have created a community.
By positioning your brand and business as a thought leader in your industry, and having the opportunity to address any concerns or questions by walking a person through your sales cycle, you have created a game changer.
When you watch a television commercial or hear a radio ad, or even see a billboard or print ad, you may very well be interested in that product. In this day and age of content overload we do not simply see a shiny new picture of a product and call a number and make a purchase. We need to be walked through the sales cycle.
Many businesses offer higher ticket items or services that require more than what can be conveyed in a 30 second television commercial while someone is more concerned about their snacks running out.
A commercial or print ad may be enough to briefly gain someone’s interest but what about when someone likes what they see and have a few questions?
Will they quickly write down the name of your business and go search for it later?
Will they pull out their phone and open Amazon and search for the same product there, likely sold by a company that isn’t you?
The ability to guide potential customers through whatever sales cycle our business requires is made exponentially easier on social media. A person who has just seen a piece of your content for the first time has easy and immediate access to all of your other content.
They can click through to your other social channels, videos, your website, a contact form, all right in front of them without ever having to leave the couch.
They can set their phone down when their show returns and your content will be right there waiting for them when they are ready to continue learning about your amazing business.
All other types of traditional marketing put the potential customer on the advertisers timeline.
A television commercial puts content in front of them while they’re watching their favorite show.
They don’t want to see content from a new brand now, they only want to watch television, and once their show returns they’ve likely forgotten all about that product ad they were forced to sit through sandwiched there between the organic dog food and latest advancements in diaper technology.
Let's compare the customer experience when receiving similar content via traditional marketing vs. social media advertising.
You are watching television.
The most suspenseful part of your favorite show is ramping up, the music lets you know something incredible is about to be revealed.
Suddenly… commercial break.
You quickly check your phone, and glancing back at the television see quick cuts of spaghetti and lasagna, you suddenly remember there is a potluck at work tomorrow.
It’s okay, you can stop at the grocery store on the way, you wonder if they still have those brownies they had before, what were those called again?
Double peanut something, you quickly text your coworker for the name.
Glancing back to the television you see a car dealership advertising free oil changes for a year if you buy a new car this weekend only.
You should really take your car in for an oil change soon.
You can do that this weekend, no problem.
Oh, your show is back!
Here we go, you think setting your phone down.
Pretty typical right?
Now consider the same content delivered on social media.
You are sitting on the couch waiting for your husband to find his keys.
You grab your phone, open Facebook, and begin scrolling.
Oh cute, Melissa got a new puppy!
More photos of Derek’s honeymoon in Hawaii, “I want to go to Hawaii!”
A video begins playing showing red wine cascading into a crystal decanter with a caption asking, “Do you love Italian food?”
You love Italian food!
And this place is just down the road from your house!
How have you not heard of this yet?
You click the comment section and see several people raving about how it’s the best new place in town. The pesto is top notch, and the calamari…
Well you just have to try the calamari!
You click the ad and are taken to the restaurant’s website where you see more amazing Italian dishes and wine pairings that make your mouth water.
This looks amazing.
You click the yelp icon from the website and see dozens of 5 star reviews.
Clicking back to the website you’re given the option to download a 15% off coupon good on your first visit.
You click download and the coupon is emailed to you before your husband has even realized his keys are right where you said they’d be the first time.
When Friday rolls around there is no need to discuss which new place you should try this weekend, you’ve got the perfect one in mind, and you’ve even got a coupon.
Now, how lucky is it that you saw that ad just when you did?
Just when you had the time to sit there for a few minutes and check things out.
Social media advertising makes it so we don’t need to rely on luck as much as you may think.
The restaurant knew what they were doing.
Putting it All Together for Social Media Ads
The restaurant knew that their average customers are married couples between the ages of 35-55 who live within a 6 miles radius of their business.
They also know that their average customers are those who enjoy the beach, Italian food, and red wines.
They know that the highest converting leads for them are the ones who see their ads around 4 PM on Wednesday, just before dinner time, and just before the weekend, when they’re most likely to visit.
They even knew that it was highly likely you were going to be intrigued by their content because Julia, a woman who is very similar to you, loved it too. Based on your past positive interactions with ads that offer a coupon, Facebook even knew you were an especially good candidate to show this content.
You were targeted, specifically and intentionally.
Each and every person who saw that ad fit the exact criteria the restaurant determined would give them the best shot at bringing the most new people.
The restaurant paid much less to advertise their content to you than they would have by buying a television ad.
The content was on Facebook, your favorite social site, and the content was provided in such a way that you were able to take it all in at your own pace and on your own time, when you were already scrolling on Facebook.
Every bit of information you needed to make a decision, from interest piqued, to downloading the coupon and deciding on your Friday night dinner plans was easily available to you without forcing you to stop what you were doing.
The television ad gave you some fleeting thought of pasta, but you were distracted and your interest wasn’t piqued at the time because you didn’t want to watch commercials, you wanted to get back to your show.
When you were shown the same content in a different way, on your own terms, with the option to learn more without leaving what you were doing, and also being efficiently provided enough information to make a decision, you ended up finding yourself a brand new restaurant to try.
By being able to target content to people with such precision, we not only make every cent of our marketing budgets count, but we convert a much larger percentage of those we reach.
We’re never just hoping for the best, hoping that someone can scramble to find a pen and write down a number on the radio or across a billboard while they’re driving, or praying that they are giving their undivided attention to the commercials on television.
Our message doesn’t become the meat on an irrelevant content sandwich, that someone ignores while waiting for their favorite show to return.
Our content is highly targeted and specifically interesting to the people whom we’ve chosen to show it to.
Social media advertising is effective because it allows us to put content in front of just the right people, in just the right place, in the way they most want to consume it, and on their own terms.
Social media allows us to be more than simple advertisers.
We are using social media advertising to effectively provide value to our customers, and potential customers in a way that benefits them.
When we combine a win-win situation, with a community and use social media as a game changer, it benefits our customers, as well as businesses and brands.