In this week’s masterclass LeadsPedia’s Elliott Lemenager explores five ways to master social media advertising. 

Internet advertising is the new best practice in the marketing world. In fact, According to Bloomberg statistics, advertisers across the globe will spend 15% more on digital advertising in 2015 than they did last year. In fact, digital ad spend is forecasted to reach $163 billion, or nearly one-third of total ad spending, Bloomberg reported, citing Magna Global data.

The focus on social media advertising specifically has grown in many industries, and with good reason. There are 864 million daily active users on Facebook alone, its website says. That figure jumps to 1.35 billion when monthly users are considered. Social advertising provides a vast opportunity for marketers to connect with the right client at the right time. Business Insider statistics found social media advertising spending will exponentially grow through 2018. Social budgets have already increased 40% in 2014 to more than $8.5 billion; in three years, that sum is expected to reach $14 billion.

The time for online network advertising is now, and businesses need to get with the programme before it’s too late. Here are five tips on how to jumpstart your social media advertising efforts:

1. Conduct A/B tests

Tracking return on investment isn’t always easy when it comes to social media advertising. While there are a plethora of metrics advertisers can use to gauge a campaign’s performance, there are a few ways to tangibly measure which outreach efforts are yielding the best results. A/B testing is great for social campaigns because online networks operate in real time. A sponsored post, for instance, can be measured in a matter of minutes. This helps marketers because if they send out several test ads to smaller audiences, they can determine which one works best and then push the most popular ads out to a wider group of individuals. Ad optimisation in this regard is helpful and important because not only are advertisers saving money at the end of the day, they’re also increasing their chances of converting potential customers into sales. Getting the right ad in front of the right client can be achieved through proper A/B testing on social networks.

2. Ensure ads are supplementing content on social media

Content is sovereign in today’s social media advertising realm. Users don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant banner ads while they’re browsing online. However, if leads come across a piece of information or a headline that’s compelling or of benefit to them, they’re much more likely to follow through and convert. Different businesses have varying ideas on how to best promote themselves using content, but a general best practice is to try to be an industry expert or provide compelling content that will engage your audience. For example, video camcorder company GoPro relies heavily on its YouTube channel to share its mission and provide users high-quality entertainment. Certainly, not all businesses have the luxury of sharing visually appealing stunts, but the underlying theme remains the same: Offer content your audience will want to see. Stale or boring content will only drive users away, which is exactly what advertisers don’t want.

3. Make sure your ads are targeted

Similar to providing the right type of content, ads need to be targeted to the right audience. If sponsored posts or banner ads are viewed by the wrong demographic, you may as well be flushing money down the toilet. It’s no secret advertising is heavily predicated on reaching the right audience with the right message. Yet, this is especially important with social media advertising because the window of opportunity to grab a user’s attention online is smaller. Marketers can combat this challenge not only by conducting A/B tests, but also by simply asking users what they enjoy or dislike about social media campaigns. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go directly to the source to help optimise social advertising. By leveraging customer opinion on what they want to see, marketers are not only demonstrating they value client opinion, they’re also ensuring better results and potential for a full return on investment.

4. Have an online presence to complement advertising

There is a solid selection of social media platforms businesses can use to communicate and interact with potential clients. Depending on the vertical, some networks produce better results than others. For instance, GoPro’s products align well with YouTube’s video-sharing network, while others rely on text or still-image content in different channels. Certain companies take advantage of Instagram, where images are sovereign, while others are more succinct and humorous on Twitter. Whatever the case may be, it’s crucial for companies to find the channel they interact with leads best on and focus energy on making the user experience as valuable as possible. Companies need to be more dynamic online than just sharing previously published content and pushing ads to a target demographic. Social media is a real time communication conduit, and businesses that want to improve lead generation need to interact regularly with their followers. 

5. Don’t just rely on organic strategies

In late 2014, Facebook made an announcement that beginning this month, algorithmic updates will limit the amount of promotional posts people see on business pages. As a result, organic search results will likely decrease, which highlights the importance of diversifying a social media marketing campaign as much as possible. Since social media platforms are mostly publicly traded, companies need to realise users are customers of the online network, not the client of the advertising business. Although web users are following or interacting with a company, the platform ultimately has complete control of what they see and do. While that may be the case, businesses that create compelling content, test successful campaigns, optimise and diversify the platforms they reach out to clients on are setting themselves up for success, regardless of their vertical. Engagement metrics on social media such as likes, shares and comments help improve overall visibility, so if a campaign yields a high volume of interaction, users are more likely to see it.