New research from US global social marketing platform Kenshoo Social, has found that organic posting is the most popular social media tactic, but paid advertising is the most successful.

Results from a new study on social media marketing, commissioned by Kenshoo and conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that most large marketers are more likely to implement  free, ‘organic’ tactics; such as creating branded pages and content, than to use paid ads. However, it is paid advertising on social networks which is actually the most successful tactic.

Engaging Target Audience

Forrester interviewed 105 large social advertisers (social media and advertising professionals whose companies spend over $100,000 per year on social media ads) in the US, to evaluate how marketers are using social media advertising, with the goal of educating marketers on how to choose the most effective social media advertising objectives and tactics.

Chief marketing officer of Kenshoo, Aaron Goldman, said with billions of people around the world actively connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, marketers have eagerly turned to social media to engage their target audiences.

“Today, most marketers include some type of social advertising in their programmes, but the options available to them have increased exponentially, as has the ability to measure the effectiveness of their outreach,” Goldman said.

Branded Pages

The study found that the most popular tactic was maintaining branded pages on general social networks, business networks and microblogs. However, branded pages alone did not make an effective social marketing strategy, according to Kenshoo.

The study also noted that more than half of large social advertisers use ad rotation, but only one third use granular targeting to reach the right audiences. Most of those who do target primarily use basic criteria like demographic targeting.

The survey measured the tactics of satisfied social advertisers and found that different paid social strategies drove different kinds of success. Social advertisers who paid to promote their branded content were most satisfied with the awareness they created; while those who bought standard social ad units were happiest with their ability to drive purchases.

Brand-focused social advertisers and response-focused social advertisers ‘must deploy the tactics proven best for meeting their specific objectives’, Goldman stressed.

Advanced Tech Platforms

“This research study demonstrates the importance of using advanced technology platforms to create highly-targeted campaigns at scale, leveraging a portfolio approach across promoted content and standard ad units to achieve overall business goals,” Goldman added.

“Furthermore, marketers must connect the dots across paid, owned and earned media placements to understand the impact of each touchpoint along the path to conversion.”