Once upon a time, social media advertising meant creating a Facebook page and racking up as  many “likes” as possible. Brands could post and consumers would see it. In their infancy, web 2.0 and social media were all about the bells and whistles, rather than a genuine source of revenue and customer acquisition. Today, it’s shifted to a pay-to-play format, where if there isn’t money behind a campaign, it will go largely unseen. 

However, due to changes in social media algorithms, it’s increasingly more difficult for brands to drive organic engagement without tapping into the paid advertising side of these social platforms. For brands who want to drive tangible results, paid social is no longer a want; it’s a necessity. 

And it works.

Social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel, according to a study conducted by Sprout Social

If you haven’t already woven paid social media advertising into your marketing strategy, you need to. Read on to learn more about how you can unleash the power of paid social for your brand; just don’t assume you have it locked down because you run a few successful social media campaigns. The paid social landscape is a prime example of an ever-evolving channel, given new features and policy changes will always take place, after all. So lean into the chaos and learn how to convert a world of change into tangible business value with paid social for your brand.

Performance-oriented creative through video 

Like most things related to social media, the way we view ads has drastically changed over the years, especially on Facebook. According to Hootsuite, spending on social video advertising leapt 130% from 2016 to 2017, and that number has only continued to increase since. Consumers are now more interested in dynamic ad formats, as opposed to the static images and newsfeed-based ads that once dominated Facebook. Simply put, the bar has risen for advertisers in terms of what’s considered engaging and performant creative. Is your team ready?

Advertisers need to identify ways to consistently produce performance-oriented creative through video, because dynamic creative formats are here to stay. 

Examples of this powerful creative include short-form video, animated GIFs, carousel ads, and dynamic product feed ads. This level of personalization and engagement continue to resonate with consumers and rise as a powerful driving force in the world of paid social. These dynamic mediums not only afford advertisers a more flexible slate to stake their claims, but also give end consumers a richer experience by which to form a relationship with brands.

Moreover, dynamic formats open up a world of possibility for teams who are willing to be early adopters. These kinds of first-mover advantages can help drive additional growth at discounted CPMs while other advertisers catch up to these new features. They can push the envelope on the diversity of ad formats that can be utilized. For instance, Facebook Marketplace, Messenger, and Facebook Audience Network. 

Sufficient resources for social media teams 

Tending to a healthy and scalable paid social media strategy can be a beast and can require continual attention. That’s why it’s so critical for brands to supply their team with sufficient resources, as it’s not worth the risk to be underprepared or understaffed and experience an altering mistake. Losing paid social campaign momentum due to resource constraints can be the difference between exceeding your goals or being forced to renavigate the learning curve.

One area this especially pertains to is engagement. Engagement has an even greater impact on Facebook’s Ad Relevance Measures and thus performance, so it’s critical to ensure teams have sufficient resources to support and respond to customer feedback. Remember, this should be a two-way dialogue that serves both as social proof and positive momentum. 

Likewise, team structure can have a big impact on paid social. The era of working with 1-2 external agencies who have their hands in many different channels are long gone. Instead, brands should focus on finding a third-party partner who has a very specific niche area of focus in one channel or method, as varying channels can have breadth and depth. You won’t find the same top-tier results if you aren’t investing in people with hyper-focused knowledge. Working with those who are the number one expert in their field can be a huge differentiator. Top tier partners are also often about to establish a direct line relationship with the respective social platforms, which can translate to a competitive advantage for brands particularly amidst times of high volatility.

Additionally, when preparing to launch a paid social campaign, it’s critical to ensure you have a clean house for data and tracking, as incorrect information could drastically impact reporting. Does your team have a scalable and trustworthy attribution methodology in place? Marketers should make certain the appropriate tags and setup are accurate to be able to scale and test new ideas efficiently. Flying blind or determining success mid-flight is a recipe for inefficiency and missed learning opportunities.

Personalized, omnichannel relationship with consumers

Forming a direct one-on-one relationship with potential and existing customers is key to the successful execution of paid social. It’s not solely about driving direct response actions. Rather, it’s about determining how to build loyalty through social media. Advertisers willing to make the long-term investment in deep one-to-one relationships are rewarded not only with better CPAs but often a long-tail halo effect benefiting the brand through word of mouth and referral activity.

Brands can invest in personalized relationships with consumers through social advertising in a number of ways. As previously mentioned, dynamic ads are a great paid social strategy. On the personalization front, it allows marketers to create an ad template that pulls from your product catalog, instead of having to create several individual ads that may not align with each individual prospect’s tastes or needs. This allows Facebook to dynamically highlight those products or services that users may have previously engaged with or expressed interest in. The potential efficiency gains are two-fold both in terms of operational efficiency for your team (fewer manual tasks required per campaign) and improved ad relevance by betting on the power of AI and machine learning to optimize towards the highest performing creative.

More so, it must be a part of a broader ecosystem of tactics; nothing in the marketing world today flourishes in isolation. Marketing teams who understand marketing isn’t one channel won’t be as successful, but they will be rewarded with better results if they implement an omnichannel approach.

In today’s world, social media is one of the main sources consumers use when looking for information about a brand or service. It’s a powerful marketing tool that all brands should be utilizing, not just large, consumer-focused companies. So with performance-oriented creative through video, sufficient resources, and personalized, omnichannel relationships with consumers, your brand, too, can find success through paid social media advertising.

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