Video may have killed the radio star, but television advertising definitely reduced the amount of print advertising. Similarly, the rise of the Internet has reduced the amount spent on most advertising not taking place in a digital world. Initially, Internet advertising took the form of the “banner ad,” which was essentially a print advertisement with a link to a company’s website. While initially effective, these banner ads soon became easy to ignore and ineffective.
Then pop up ads appeared on the scene and were more effective at gaining visibility, however users quickly became annoyed at the constant interruptions these ads caused to their browsing. Marketers next turned to keyword ads. This involved matching advertisements to keywords in search engines. For example, if a Google user searched for “plumber” advertisements for local plumbers selling drain cleaning would appear at the upper edges or the “sponsored results” that are shown at the top of the search results.
Then the rise of social media gave advertisers another opportunity to…well, advertise-and they are jumping at it. In fact, over $23 billion dollars was spent on social media advertising in 2015, a figure that is expected to increase to over $35 billion by 2017. Put another way, social media advertising is expected to become 16% of total online advertising. But why are people turning to social media for advertising? Is it really effective?
Consider the following advantages of social media advertising:
Use by platform:
- 71% of adults use Facebook
- 23% of adults use Twitter
- 26% of adults use Instagram
- 28% of adults use Pinterest
- 28% of adults use LinkedIn
Not only that, but 89% of users 18-29 years old, who represent a large chunk of the coveted 18-34 old demographic, use social media. This is a lot of potential customers and a golden opportunity for contractors.
Social media is addicting, and people that want to stay in touch all day long often turn to mobile applications to access sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. In fact, smartphones and tablets make up 60% of digital media access in the U.S., which means a lot of people are using mobile devices and applications to keep up with their “friends,” “followers” and “contacts.”
This represents a golden opportunity, because developers have specifically designed these programs with advertisers in mind; the ability for them to control what users see on the small screen allows advertisers to place their ads front and center, in a place that users can’t ignore. New technology also gives users the option of placing advertising directed at mobile users accessing social media content by location, allowing local brick-and-mortar stores to advertise to potential customers currently in their area.
Setting advertising budgets can be difficult, especially if you are trying to decide how many times to run a large and expensive television advertisement. Social media allows contractors to set a daily budget that is based on either advertisements shown or “clicks” (how many times a user clicks on your link and accesses your website). Once a daily budget has been reached, the ads automatically stop until the next day.
Traditional media campaigns are tough to track, meaning that advertisers may spend money on ineffective campaigns. Social media advertising allows businesses to see how many people are clicking on their ads in almost real time. This means that advertisers will be able to stop throwing good money after bad by airing futile advertisements and reevaluate their strategies “on the fly.”
Traditional advertising is expensive, especially on television, on radio or in print. Social media advertising allows even small contractors to advertise with a simple picture and tagline. Not only does this reduce upfront cost, but the cost of running ads on social media is far cheaper than television and print pricing.
People can ignore banner ads or turn the channel when a television ad comes on, but social media puts advertisements directly into user’s feeds. This makes them difficult to ignore and increases the likelihood of a “click.”
The biggest advantage of social media advertising is the ability to set which users see what ads. This is called targeting, and it is by far one of the most effective advertising techniques ever. Rather than just creating a blanket ad and hoping that someone likes it enough to “click,” targeted advertising narrows a field. Social media targeting allows people to show ads to categories of people including:
- Age groups
In conclusion, you can see the distinct advantages social media advertising has even over older, more conventional PPC campaigns on Google’s Adwords platform. Maybe it’s time to dip your toe back into the online marketing waters to build your business this year?