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Should You Invest in Social Media Advertising?

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

January 29th 2016

Wondering whether or not to take the plunge and run a social media advert?

More businesses around the world are, social advertising has become a guaranteed way to reach out to followers, fans and customers. The forecast for the future; an estimated $36 billion will be spent on social media adverts by 2017. At the moment Facebook accounts for 65% of all social media advertising spend, having acquired Instagram the platform now distributes adverts to an active audience of 1.3 billion accounts.

So is it time to test the waters?

If you’ve been considering using social media advertising to market your business in 2016 but would like to know some of the facts first, then this is the blog post for you.


Where Can You Advertise?

Every platform has its own form of advertising opportunities, each with its own pricing structure, design and targeting options.


What Can You Advertise?

Social media advertising offers a whole host of advert types for you to use.

However, the competitive edge to this form of advertising comes from the interactive element. Unlike a print advert, digital ads and social ads let us directly engage the person viewing it. You can ask your intended audience to click, download, play, view and buy straight from the ad itself with a quick click of the button.

Advert Types

  • Display and Text Ads – promoting a variety of calls-to-action
  • Boosted Posts – get a well-performing or important post to a wider audience
  • Page or Profile Likes – advertise your page or profile to gain likes or followers
  • Clicks to Website – promote a specific page on your website or blog
  • Video Views – increase views and engagement with your video content
  • App Installs – encourage downloads of your desktop or mobile app
  • Offer Claims – create offers for people to claim in your store
  • Sponsored Content – distribute your content to a wider audience
  • Sponsored InMail (LinkedIn only) – allows you to send a form of email message direct to users
  • Recommendation Ads (LinkedIn only) – showcase a specific product and the number of times people have recommended it


When Can You Run An Ad?

Right now if you really wanted to. When it comes to social media advertising there are no deadlines, other than your own. When you decide it’s time to run an ad you can do it with no delay.

In essence social media advertising is a bit DIY. You are in control, you create the ad, you pick the audience, you decide how much to spend, and you launch it.

Plus, your advert will run across desktop and mobile app versions of your chosen social network.


You Select Who Sees Your Ad

The biggest advantage to social media advertising is your ability to select the people who you want to see your ad. You don’t have to waste money on reaching people who are not interested in what you are offering. Instead with advanced targeting options you can pick the audience you want to see the advert.

Facebook Advertising is the most advanced, offering you a variety of targeting options that include:

  • Age and Gender,
  • Location, and
  • Interests.

For instance, if Tuminds were to run an advertising campaign to promote our blog series How-Tu Tuesdays to students studying marketing at the University of the Highlands and Islands we could use the following targeting parameters:

  • Age: 17 – 24 years
  • Gender: Men and Women
  • Location: Inverness
  • Interests: Social Media, Marketing, University of Highlands and Islands

Based on these parameters our estimated audience reach is 5,100 accounts on Facebook.

Another local example, for the food and drink sector this time:

  • Age: 18 years +
  • Gender: Men and Women
  • Location: Inverness
  • Interests: Food and Drink, Eating, Socialising with Friends and Family
  • Estimated Reach: 29,000 accounts


Understanding Pricing

Ultimately you are in competition with other advertisers who want to reach the same audience as you.

When you run an advert, you’re taking part in an advert auction. You choose the budget for your advert, which is the total amount you want to spend. Then you choose a bid – the amount you’re willing to pay to have customers see your advert and click on it or take some other action.

Depending on the type of demographics you choose will determine the cost of reaching them, if you are targeting an audience that a lot of other businesses are also targeting then the cost to reach them will increase.

At present the minimum daily spend for a business on Facebook is £5.


The Benefits of Using Social Media Advertising

  1. You are always in control, you choose the budget, the audience and the launch date.
  2. Social Ads are optimized to reach the people who are more likely to take action on your ad.
  3. It’s considerably cheaper than traditional advertising.


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