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Should You Pay for Social Media Ads?

By: Elaine Fogel


Should You Pay for Social Media Ads

This is an important question for small-midsized businesses and nonprofits* with limited marketing budgets. Are paid social media ads worth the investment?

According to an article on Medium by Shivam Verma, there are seven benefits to using paid social media advertising:

  1. Amplify your reach
  2. Fit any budget
  3. Enhance your targeting
  4. Boost brand awareness
  5. Maximize your content marketing
  6. Gain access to mobile users
  7. Gather market insights

But, will paid social media ads produce a return on your investment?

Blue Fountain Media surveyed over 1,000 US consumers between the ages of 18-55 to learn more about their experiences, sentiments, and behaviors when served paid ads on social media platforms. The results can help you determine whether to jump into, or continue using, this marketing channel or not.

(I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting in bold what I believe are the strongest statistics to help make your decision.)

The social media channel on which people are most likely to click on an ad:

  • 70% say they are more likely to click on ads in their main news feed than in Stories.
  • 65% say they like that social media ads show them products that they are interested in and wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • 36% say discounts are the biggest motivation to buy a product while 33% say the actual product is what moves them to make a purchase. 17% claim it’s how the product is marketed.

Buying behavior:

  • 69% want to visit a company’s website before buying a product from their social feed.
  • Only 10% will just click and buy a product while 21% say they will never buy through a social media ad.
  • 69% say they will buy from an unknown brand if they like the product while 18% say they must know the brand.

Celebrity or influencer endorsements:

  • 51% will purchase from a celebrity or influencer endorsed brand – with 8% making the purchase even if they have no interest in the product!(Wow!)
  • 37% say celebrities or influencers have no impact on their purchasing decisions.
  • 56% question the authenticity of a celebrity or influencer endorsement and 43% could care less.

Advertising transparency:

  • 35% are suspect when an #Ad or #Sponsored Content tag appears in a post and view it as a fake endorsement while 28% appreciate seeing that transparency.
  • 37% click-through or make a purchase no matter what—only ifthey like the product.

Advertising frequency:

  • 75% say ads have taken over their feedswhile 25% say their feeds are well balanced.
  • Of those surveyed, 46% say they are served up 1-5 ads a day. 26% say 5-20, and 13% say they receive more than 20 ads a day on their feeds.

The biggest turn offs when it comes to social media ads:

  • 28% say when they have no interest in the product
  • 27% say ads that use audio
  • 23% say similar ads that keep following them once they click on an ad once.
  • 16% say it’s getting more ads than content from family and friends.
  • 6% say they hate that the more they buy—the more ads they get.

Lastly, the report asked participants what they like most about social media ads:

  • 45% answered that social media ads have introduced them to new products and services that are out there, that they wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • 30% said that social ads keep social media platforms fee-free.
  • 20% said that they like seeing ads of products and services that they are genuinely interested in.
  • 3% feel that social media ads make life easier.

If you’re interested in social media video ads, eMarketer predicts that social video ad spending in the US will reach $14.89 billion in 2021, growing 44% from 2019! It also estimates that overall video ad spending will increase 62.1% between 2019 and 2023.

After you’ve digested this information and decide to experiment with paid social media ads, I recommend that you do some due diligence before beginning any campaign.

Constant Contact has good advice for your paid social ads.

  • Define your objective
  • Define your target audience
  • Analyze organic (non-paid) posts to know what works best for you
  • Make your ads mobile responsive
  • Set, and keep a budget for social paid ads across platforms

As I always say: Strategy before tactics!

*Even though this study was consumer focused, results can provide some insights to nonprofits using social media marketing for their calls to action.

Published: April 22, 2019

Source: Elaine Fogel

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