Social media has evolved into an enormous marketing phenomena that businesses of all types, sizes and resources simply could not afford to overlook or downplay social media as an effective tool for reaching out to targeted audiences. Wise business owners realize that working with a multi-channel digital marketing approach will deliver the best results and this means including social media among the top spots in their marketing mix.
Business owners who have used digital marketing extensively in the past know that combining paid, targeted social advertising would be a good support and complement to organic Search Engine Optimization in generating valuable leads that convert. The same principles apply to social media marketing, most especially in light of the challenges outlined earlier. Yet, quite a few businesses are allocating substantial budget for social advertising, as can be seen in the chart above that show budgets from large corporations having five thousand employees or more. These business have yet to realize the power of social advertising as outlined in the amazing facts and statistics shown below.
The infographic (click to zoom):
The Current State of Social Media Advertising
An extensive study was performed by Socialbakers in an attempt to get comprehensive insights about the current state of social media marketing in 2014. The report involved more than 500 marketing professionals from a good mix of country of origins, industry and company size.
Primary Social Media Advertising Goals
When asked, up to 62% of respondents from the Socialbakers study all agreed that getting customers through social media marketing is one of their more important goals this year. As these business grow more established in their social media presence, goals too evolve from generating mere social signals into generating leads, customers and ultimately ROI from all their social marketing efforts.
However, only 29% indicated that providing good customer care and service through social media is a very important goal. Businesses should realize that providing social customer care should be at the topmost priority in their social media marketing engagements, as not prioritizing customer care will have a negative impact on your future brand engagement.
Platforms Social Advertisers Use
Facebook still top the list of platforms social advertisers use for their paid social media marketing campaigns at a high 92%. YouTube followed suit at 35% with LinkedIn close behind at 24%. What’s interesting is that Twitter lags the pack at a mere 23%, despite the fact that this social network have already launched their paid social ad channel of promoted tweets and posts back in March of 2012.
What this imply is not the fact that Twitter is a poor choice for social advertising, but rather business owners find it difficult to adapt the network to their type of business or targeted customers. What this tells business owners is that they should not select social networks based merely based on popularity but on how appropriate and effective the channel is in helping them achieve their specific social marketing goals.
Types of Social Ad Placement Used
Social ads can be configured on how they will appear or be impressed on targeted users. Taking Facebook as an example, ad placements may appear in the Deskstop Newsfeed, Mobile Newsfeed, combined Desktop and Mobile newsfeed, the traditional Right Hand column or all of Facebook. The SocialBakers study however indicates that there really are no prominent or preferred ad placement positions among digital marketers using Facebook ad placements.
This may be due to a number of reasons, among them the fact that business owners and digital marketers are still trying out which particular placements would work best for them. This data however may be a slight improvement in terms of diversification from information collated from a similar survey conducted last year. 2013 data showed 81% of respondents make use of the encompassing “Facebook All” type of placement, which dropped down to 42% this year as digital marketers try out the effectiveness of other locations.
What Marketers will Focus On in Coming Periods
The following chart indicates the platform of focus digital marketers will be prioritizing in the coming periods. Facebook still reign high at 80%, followed by other giants Twitter and YouTube. Surprisingly, Google+ which has emerged as the number 2 top social network in the industry due to amazing numbers and statistics this channel is generating, is getting a low 14.1% in terms of paid ad placements. Relatively new compared to more established social networks, Google+ users may still be wary or still weighing the effectiveness of social advertising in this network.
How Businesses Manage Social Advertising
It should be of no surprise when you find businesses and organizations establishing new key positions in their companies, particularly the Social Media Manager or Coordinator and the Community Manager. With more and more companies jumping into the social media marketing bandwagon, this marketing tool is slowly but surely being nurtured as an integral part of key business processes.
The chart below from SocialBakers highlight the kind of support Social Media Marketing is getting from top management, with some diversity in levels of support between similar positions from small and large companies. Still, there is a large room for improvement in terms of management support as more and more business owners, managers and key people – most of which are familiar and comfortable with traditional marketing channels – strive to be more familiar with social media marketing and advertising.
Aside from management support and key personnel focusing on social media marketing and advertising, many businesses have also started using third-party applications and systems to help them managed their social media marketing and advertising campaigns, including ad placements on top social networks. These applications include the more popular systems like Buddy Media from Salesforce, as well as popular tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and IFTTT (IF This Then That).
What Social Advertising Can Do For Your Business
The latest Media Intelligence Report from Neustar Aggregate Knowledge, a quarterly study that monitors the performance of social media channels, indicates a far better performance by social ads over the collective average of other channels including exchanges, networks and portals. This is in terms of reaching out to new and more exclusive targeted audiences at the least possible cost, which placed social ad performance better than others by as much as 167%. Last year, social ads already outperformed the average by 52%.
The substantial increase in performance this year is an indication of the continued cost effectiveness of social ads as a marketing tool. Data presented here is quite remarkable and reliable, coming from up to 220 billion digital points and a good mix of vertical industries that include Telco, Retail, Media, Health, Entertainment, Education and CPG. The report also provide other amazing facts and statistics that indicate what social advertising can do for your business, as shown in the following:
1. Social Ads are More Cost-Effective
It was established earlier that the use of social ads is more cost-effective than the average of all channels, and is actually up to 70% cheaper than the average Cost Index established by Neustar. This means social ads are more effective in driving clicks, conversions and impressions while maintaining a low cost average. In terms of Reach Efficiency, social ads performed 129% better than the average, in fact it is the only channel that outperformed the average at all.
2. Social Ads Provide Better Frequency and Impressions
In terms of reaching out and targeting quality users, social advertising would be the more effective tool, outperforming the average User Quality Index among all channels. Social advertising generate better ad frequency as well as impressions to targeted users.
3. Social Ads Deliver Better Conversion Rates
Social ads also deliver better user conversion rates across several vertical industries, including a 2500% increase in Education, 1100% increase for Telco and 1100% increase for health. The studies also show that users who have clicked on social ads are more inclined for making further purchases.
The reach of social media marketing has created a tremendous impact in the digital marketing performance of many businesses worldwide. Channeling these marketing tools and combining it with paid social advertising are expected to deliver even better performance as indicated in the facts and statistical data shown above.
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