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Is Social Media Paid Advertising Worth the Investment?

Posted by Darisse Kennedy on Monday, February 24, 2020

Topics: Social Media


When it comes to advertising for your business, social media paid advertising can feel a little bit like the wild west. If you are accustomed to investing in more traditional forms of advertising such as print, radio, and television, social media paid advertising can feel foreign and risky. Before you put the hard-earned dollars from your business into social media advertising you need to determine if it is worth the investment.

It is a good idea to approach any new type of advertising with a certain level of caution because you want to use your advertising dollars wisely. If you are considering social media paid advertising, there is good news. It is worth the investment because it allows you to target a specific audience, create brand awareness, experiment with formats, and stay within budget in ways that traditional types of advertising simply cannot.

Target a specific audience

One of the most powerful elements of social media paid advertising is the ability to target a specific audience. You can target audiences based on elements such as demographics and their behavior on social media. The first step is to start with the big picture and ask where people in your target audience are spending their time online. Social media paid advertising is only worth the investment if you are able to get your ads in front of the people who need or want your product or service. Choosing the platform where your potential customers spend their time is the first step in developing a successful social media ad campaign. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn each have a different set of stats when you look at the size, demographics, and behavior of their audiences.

Do you know the audience you should be targeting with your ads? Developing a buyer persona based on your ideal customer or client is an important part of identifying the audience you should target with your social media ads. During the process of creating a buyer persona you will determine the demographics of your target audience, what they do for work, how they spend free time, and what pain points they are experiencing that your product or service can address. With that basic information you can explore the demographics of each social media platform and determine which one overlaps the best with your buyer persona. For example, if you create business-to-business solutions for decision makers in small to medium companies, your buyer persona is likely spending more time on LinkedIn than Instagram. You can use that information about your persona to make advertising decisions.

Create brand awareness

Paid social media advertising allows you to create brand awareness by bringing your ads to the places where your customers spend their time. Across all platforms, there are an estimated 3.725 billion active users. That huge number means that a large percentage of your potential customers are on some type of social media. You can use paid advertising on social media to help those potential customers become aware of your brand. This awareness and familiarity can factor in to purchasing decisions and impact which company the customer ultimately chooses.

There is a lot of competition out there for the attention of consumers. Casting a wide net with your advertising may seem like the most effective way to create awareness for your brand. The reality is, however, that people pay attention to information that is relevant to them. Getting your brand in front of people who do not need or want your services is a waste of your advertising dollars. On the other hand, getting your brand in front of a carefully selected audience on social media that already has a need for your product or service will make the money you spend on advertising go a long way.

Experiment with formats

Traditional advertising often requires a large commitment of time, money, and other resources. Traditional advertising also locks you into a format from the very beginning – before you know if it is going to work. Advertising on television involves video and advertising on radio involves audio – there is no flexibility there. Social media paid advertising is much different because it allows you to experiment with formats for a much lower cost.

Social media is extremely flexible, which is a huge benefit for small to medium businesses that do not have huge advertising budgets. You can run an ad on Facebook with a photo and written content for a few weeks with minimal investment and look at your analytics to determine if the ad is providing the desired results. If not, it is simple to remove the ad and try a different format such as video to see how your audience responds. Advertising on social media is not a static process. You have the freedom to adjust your format in response to the reaction of your targeted audience.    

Stay within budget

There are many types of advertising mediums that are so costly that only the largest of businesses can afford them. For example, you may never be able to have a commercial for your business air during the Super Bowl. The good news is that you can run successful ad campaigns on social media for far less than it would cost to use many of the traditional advertising outlets.

Social media allows you to set your budget upfront. This makes it easy for you to stay within your advertising budget and prevents unwelcomed and costly surprises. If you have an ad campaign on social media that does well you can choose to invest more money into that ad to have it run longer and be exposed to a larger audience. The low entry cost means that you can experiment with it without taking a big financial risk.

Social media paid ads are worth the cost for businesses of all sizes. The low cost of entry makes paid advertising on social media a great place for small and medium businesses to experiment with it. The ability to target the audience of your ads across social media platforms allows you to get your brand in front of people who are interested in what you have to offer – with minimal cost.

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