Advertising on social media platforms has taken a number of forms since it has been introduced to the market. In the past year alone, social ad spend has increased by $2 billion to reach $6.1 billion. That’s because about 71% of agencies are using social media ads as part of their online advertising campaigns, including parts of ecommerce marketing services.
Big brands (and in some cases individuals) have the opportunity to get their messages in front of the entire social world, though the exact type of ad chosen depends upon the specific platform. Even within a platform, the climate of advertising can vary greatly. For example, Twitter users can now pay to promote a tweet, hashtag, or user handle. Meanwhile on Facebook, marketing content has been scaled down - ads are being trimmed and business options (like Facebook Questions, Sponsored Stories, and Offers) are dropping to the wayside.
Of course, you have to start somewhere. So before you launch your social media marketing campaigns, keep these key advertising aspects in mind:
Social ads typically restrict the number of characters allowed in the copy of the ad. Use this to your advantage. Focus on the clarity of your message and anchor your ad with a loud call to action.
Once you've written the copy of your ad, concentrate on the visual. Make sure you look at the size and aspect ratio of the image that will accompany your ad - this will tell you what will work best. For example, since Facebook ad images are so small, you don't want to choose a busy, detailed picture, like one that relies on text.
Keep in mind that social media is so successful because it connects people on a personal level. The same thing applies to ad artwork. To boost your CTR, it's a great idea to choose an image with a person or something that’s easily relatable to your audience.
Linking Your Ad
If the goal of your campaign is to get more Facebook likes, your ad will obviously be linking to your business' Facebook URL.
However, if you're looking for a sales conversion, those that click will be headed to your website, so pay close attention to where the ad is landing. If you're advertising new products, the ad should link to a new product page - not just your home page. Make the buying process easy for your clientele.
By now you should have figured out who your target audience is. Use that to your advantage with your social ads and take it one step further. If you have a physical storefront or only service a certain region, it may be in your best interest to geo-target your ads.
The latest adaptation within social advertising is the use of retargeted ads. Facebook Exchange gives you access to the billions of page daily page views and can retarget users who are most likely to buy from your site.
With retargeting you also have the option to target using dynamic content. For example, retarget a customer with an ad for the exact product they were looking for at your site.
Track & Test
In order to find out what’s working (and what isn’t) you must set up tracking for your ads. You can use an internal link tracker or something similar to Google Campaign Links to track user actions in Google Analytics. Using these methods, you’ll know exactly which links are converting more on your website. You can then compare these data to the stats provided by the ad platform.
Stay focused: when testing, never test more than one thing at a time. In order to successfully evaluate your data, you always want to have a control group (remember the scientific method). For example, if you want to test the ad’s image, keep copy the same in every option. When you want to test copy, keep the image the same. This way, you’ll know exactly what aspect of the ad is affecting user behavior.
Optimize for Mobile
Most of our society lives with a smartphone attached to their hip (in some cases, literally). Wanting information immediately is a key component to this. Thus, targeting a mobile audience with your social ads is a great next step… but in doing so, make sure you are creating ads that are optimized for a mobile audience. Adhere closely to the specs provided by mobile ad platforms, ensure your linking URL is going to a mobile-friendly website, and carefully choose your targeting area.
Are your social media ads working well for you? What have you done to improve performance? Let me know below or tweet me @Ripen_eCommerce.
Jessica Kornfeind is the Social Media Specialist at Ripen eCommerce, which has provided comprehensive eCommerce services for clients since 2004. Working in close partnership with eCommerce businesses, Ripen's eCommerce marketing services, development, creative, and technology teams build intuitive user experiences that boost online sales. Follow Ripen on Twitter @Ripen_eCommerce.