We all know that search engines like Google and Bing are a fantastic place for brands to advertise, but did you also know that the bigger social networks offer their own advertising programs? Now more than ever before, it is essential to expose your target market or demographic to the services or products you offer and those potential customers are just as likely to find you via social media sites as they are via the search engines. In advertising, whether on or offline, it is vital to go to where your potential customers are and social media sites are becoming one of the most popular ways for people to interact on the internet on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Even when they are not actively searching, people are still being served feedback on products and services from previous customers and from their peers. Advertisers who use Social Media PPC are tapping into the viewing and buying habits of those born after about 1980, the so called ‘Generation Y’. These users are the most comfortable with the internet and use it as their primary method of gathering information and making financial transactions. With 85% of Generation Y thought to be actively participating on social media networks, there is obviously massive potential to sell to them in a way they are comfortable with. The main players in the social media advertising market are Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, and we will take a quick look at each of these social networks in turn.
Facebook’s PPC platform is probably the most widely used of the three and offers advertisers a user friendly interface. This, along with over 800 million potential customers makes the platform highly desirable to even the smallest businesses with the most limited budgets.Of course, Facebook also excels at collecting data which the advertiser can leverage to make sure they are targeting the right market by age, sex, interests, location and much more. The ad format allows you to combine images and text together, and you also get the chance to test your ads to find out which ones work best before your campaign is fully launched. From a brand building perspective, social PPC advertising on Facebook is a great way to increase exposure, reach more people and gain new customers. Advertisers can choose the CPC or CPM method of payment and the minimum daily spend is just over £3. Facebook have also set a maximum spend of approximately £18K per month which sounds fairly reasonable compared to the amount that huge brands can spend on Adwords but the cost to users to advertise via the CPM way on Facebook has risen considerably in the past year so perhaps that method is proving less effective compared to the more straightforward cost per click approach.
Advertisers are also finding that Twitter is a great place to promotes their products and services – although the cost may be prohibitive to all but those with deep pockets. With it’s user base of over 140 million active users, Twitter offers sponsored or promoted tweets which are targeted to search results, timelines or geographic targeting and although these paid tweets are very clearly labelled, they act just like everyday tweets in that they can be retweeted and replied to. Twitter currently offers three different types of promotions – Cost Per Engagement, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts. Cost Per Engagement (CPE) works for individual promoted tweets and advertisers pay a bid price when another Twitter user retweets, favours or replies to their tweet. Promoted Tweets are ideal for advertisers that want to reach more users outside of their immediate following. Promoted Trends are offered to the advertiser for a flat fee – and this can be many thousands of pounds per day. Promoted Accounts are offered on a cost per follow basis and mean that a chosen Twitter account is placed at the top of the ‘Who To Follow’ section for targeted users. This is great for building up followers very quickly.
If you are offering B2B services or products, then the LinkedIn advertising platform is definitely something you should be considering. Because LinkedIn targets a very specific demographic, it gives you the chance to zone in on business professionals and particular industries. Just as with Adwords, there are two payment options for LinkedIn advertising: pay-per-click (CPC) and pay-per-1,000 impressions (CPM). Minimum costs are a daily budget of approximately £6.50 per day, with a minimum CPC bid of £1.25 per click and a CPM bid of £1.25 per thousand impressions.
So why Social PPC?
In addition to traditional paid advertising such as Adwords, it may pay to leverage the more popular social networks and their advertising programs as well as their user data. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from SocialMediaExaminer, 85% of marketers confirmed that the overwhelming benefit of social media marketing was to generate more business exposure and Social Media PPC is just another way of reaching your target market so we owe it to ourselves to learn about it and understand how it functions. However, as with any kind of paid advertising, it’s ridiculously easy to spend a great deal of money to buy traffic via social media, but not necessarily the kind of traffic that is going to convert for you. Do your research and find out who your audience is and make sure that you target them carefully.