Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 | 6 min read
Social media ad spend is expected to increase by 26% this year, reaching almost $36 billion. Despite this jump, however, many marketers are struggling to take their paid social strategies to the next level.
Their biggest challenges include defining the value of their content operations, staffing the right talent, and adapting to frequent updates. These roadblocks make it tough for brands to deliver consistent, high-quality content and engage new audiences.
To get your strategy back on track, it’s important to understand how the social landscape has evolved.
That’s why we’re providing a quick breakdown of the top five platforms, including targeting options, potential reach, demographics, and ad formats.
Let’s take a look.
Facebook remains the largest and most valuable social network in the world. With roughly 1.8 billion monthly users—over a quarter of the entire global population—there’s a good chance your audience is active on this platform.
You can target each demographic by location, age, gender, language, interests, and behavior. You can also create Lookalike Audiences of people who are similar to customers in your database.
Facebook’s most unique ad formats are Carousel Ads, which feature up to 10 photos or videos in a single ad, and Dynamic Product Ads, which you can use to reach people who have already interacted with your brand. Dynamic Product Ads are particularly useful with a conversion tracking pixel, which is a small snippet of code you can place on your website to track consumer behavior.
The network also recently launched Canvas Ads. These are interactive, full-screen ads designed for mobile—great for showcasing glossy product catalogues or video assets.
Twitter is popular among teens and young, educated adults. Thirty-seven percent of Internet users aged 18-29 are active on the platform, and 30% of college graduates have Twitter accounts.
There are several ways to reach these audiences with social ads. Marketers can sponsor individual tweets to generate engagement, promote their accounts to gain followers, and set up campaigns to track conversions. For example, website conversion ads can be used to drive email signups, ebook downloads, and purchases.
It’s best to ensure all Twitter ads are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Eighty-two percent of the network’s users are active on mobile, and 86% of all Twitter ad revenue last year came from mobile ads.
LinkedIn is the go-to network for B2B marketing. Seventy-nine percent of B2B marketers say the platform is effective for generating leads, and 80% of B2B marketing leads sourced on social media come from LinkedIn.
The résumé-hosting site is particularly popular among college graduates and professional adults. Half of all online adults with college degrees use LinkedIn, and 36% of users are 35-54 years old. LinkedIn is also populated by high-earners, as 45% of online adults who make $75k or more are on the network.
Granular targeting capabilities make it easy for marketers to reach these audiences. Brands can target by unique factors such as company size, job function, seniority, school, degree, and skills.
Ads can also be delivered in a few distinct ways. By sponsoring content, marketers can promote their posts in the feeds of their target audiences. And with sponsored InMail, brands can deliver messages to exactly the right person at the right time.
Snapchat is where your millennial and Gen-X customers are hanging out. Thirty percent of teens say Snapchat is their most important social network, and 71% of all users are younger than 25. Still, you shouldn’t discount that older audience, since 50% of new users are 25 or older.
Snapchat’s targeting capabilities used to be largely location-based. The app is making new strides, however, with three new targeting features. These include Snap Audience Match, which lets brands match their own data with Snapchat’s data, and Snapchat Lifestyle Categories, which lets brands target users who view certain types of video content. The third is a Lookalikes option that mirrors Facebook’s offering.
Still, Snapchat stands out with its ad formats. Brands can sponsor Lenses and Geofilters, which are interactive and layered over users’ individual Snaps. They can also deliver full-screen vertical video ads on Discover, Snapchat’s curated news platform.
Pinterest is where customers go to research their purchases. And thanks to “Buy” buttons, they can also make those purchases right on the platform. In fact, Pinners spend an average of $50 per order, making this network a lucrative advertising option for many retail brands.
Most Pinterest users are women, nearly doubling the number of men on the network. While this audience does span generations, millennials come out on top, with 36% of users aged 18-29. These customers also have money to spend, considering over 30% of Pinners bring home over $75k a year.
To reach Pinners with their ads, marketers can promote Pins they’ve posted to their boards, include extra product information with Rich Pins, and provide interactive, multimedia experiences with Cinematic Pins.
It’s important to keep up with each social platform, but there’s no need to spread your brand too thin. Now you can get a quick view of what each network has to offer, and then dive into the ones that make most sense for your marketing strategy. This way, you’ll be able to keep your team on track and take your social ad program to the next level.
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