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Why social media advertising could be a better option than search advertising – StartupSmart

Search advertising (e.g. banners ads, PPCs) is a proven marketing method that effectively drives traffic and sales to advertisers. For lots of businesses, this is where the majority of their ad spend goes.

What we’re starting to see with some of our clients is that social advertising is becoming increasingly effective and, in fact, some of our clients now spend more on social media advertising than they do on their search advertising.


If you want to reach your audience effectively on social media advertising is now a must. It is also an efficient and cost-effective method to launch or introduce a new product/service because it offers precise customer targeting. If you have enough marketing dollars, invest in both tactics to cover all the bases. But if you must choose between the two, social media advertising might get your more bang for your buck and give you stronger relationships with prospects and customers.


Here’s where social media advertising offers more long-term value than search advertising:


1. Cost


With social media advertising, it doesn’t cost so much to make an impact. It’s generally affordable for most marketers. The cost per click in social ads is lower than search ads. You can also be sure that every dollar spent will go towards your target customer.


If you set a budget of $500, with search advertising, depending on the competitiveness of the search terms, it’s likely it will last only a couple of weeks. The same $500 in social media could be effective for up to a month. Social media also gives you more bang for your buck, in that a click can turn into a purchase, a comment, a share, or a like or follow. There’s lots of opportunities for prospects to engage with your brand if they are not ready to buy.


2. Targeting

The latest Sensis Social Media Report revealed that almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day (and up to 79% for the 18-29 age group). Facebook continues to dominate the game, capturing 93% of users, with the rest on LinkedIn (28%), Instagram (26%) and Google+ (23%), with use of each platform continuing to grow.


Needless to say, there’s a greater chance for you to find your target market through social media than in any other channels. You can create more targeted campaigns. On Facebook, you can target people based on their age, sex, location, relationship to your followers and distinct interests, while on LinkedIn, you can target people based on their job titles or business experience.


3. The ability to upload your contacts database and create lookalike audiences

Most of the social networks let their business users build their own audience. You scan and upload the email addresses of your contacts and send them notifications to join your page. This is a really simple way to quickly grow your page using your existing assets.


You can also customise your audience using clever targeting tools. In Facebook, “you can choose to create a Lookalike Audience that targets people who are similar to one of your Custom Audience lists. Lookalike Audiences help you reach people who are similar to your current customers for fan acquisition, site registration, off-Facebook purchases, coupon claims and brand awareness.”


4. Reporting


All social networks have their own analytics and reporting features which you can use to monitor your campaign’s performance or track your visitors. These insights will help you understand the most engaged audience on your page. Facebook Insights is perhaps more detailed than Google Analytics. It has an overview tab (post reach, engagement, etc.), likes tab (page likes, net likes, where your page likes happened), reach tab (post reach, likes, comments, shares, etc.), visits tab (page and tab visits), posts tab (when your fans are online, post type) and the people tab (fans, people reached, people engaged).


5. Flexibility of formats


Social media advertising offers more flexibility when it comes to the style and format of your ads. You can create visual content, written or video content or simple text ads. Social ads placements are less intrusive. Your target audience will not be dealing with annoying pop-ups and takeovers, which is common with search ads.


6. Get more from your clicks


With social ads, you get the clicks you pay for with additional free impressions and clicks (e.g. retweets and repins) from users sharing your ads with their networks. This halo effect increases your brand equity and raises your overall return on ad spend.


Despite the many obvious benefits of social ads, there are still those who don’t believe in its effectiveness as an advertising platform. However, the numbers don’t lie; reports show that advertisers are spending more on social media every year. This trend is driven by the continuously growing reach of social media, particularly on mobile, better analytics and targeting, and overall performance.


So if you haven’t dabbled in social media advertising yet, perhaps it’s time to set aside some budget this year and get your social media plan of attack together.


Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.


This piece was originally published on SmartCompany.

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