Social ad spending is on the rise, according to eMarketer, which found that more than 59% of US marketers and agencies planned to increase their social media display ad spending on sites like Facebook in the next 12 months.
This information comes just ahead of Facebook’s upcoming IPO, and just this week Twitter opened up self-serve advertising to more small businesses.
The Purpose of Social Ads
Social ads can play several roles. Their ability to be highly targeted to users based on demographics as well as interests make them a prime advertising option. Still, social ads can't live in a silo whether the goal for social ads is to increase the reach of content using Facebook’s Reach Generator or Twitter’s Promoted Tweets or to gain new followers and fans using Facebook ads or Twitter’s Promoted Accounts.
Amplify an Experience
Social ads do nothing for a business that has an otherwise lackluster social presence. Extending the reach of content that people don’t want to interact with through ads, such as uninteresting tweets and Facebook posts, only makes the same unengaging content reach more people.
It starts with the experience on the social platform. A vibrant social presence powered by a content strategy is required first. A colleague of mine compares it to a party. Your Twitter account or Facebook Page is the party. You need to have the food, music and drinks to have a great party. Social ads serve as the invitations. Sending out the invitations to a party without music, food and drinks means people may poke their heads in, but they’ll leave as fast as they can and never come back. On the other side, having a great party set-up without the invitations means people may not show up.
Social ads can be a powerful tool, but they should be used as part of an integrated strategy, amplifying a social experience.