With 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 500 million active users on Instagram, and 300 Million users on Twitter, there is no question that these networks provide captive audiences and a playground that all brands should be playing in. Many outdoor brands are starting to look at moving portions of their traditional advertising budgets to social. There is no end in sight for the monetization of these social networks, with increasing options for ad placements and goals, many marketing teams are asking the same questions about where the best places for them to play are.
Here are some of the key questions we’re hearing from outdoor sport marketers, along with Origin’s best answers:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Paid Search? Where should I be putting my dollars?
With established media networks like Facebook, Instagram, it would be very easy to blow through an entire marketing budget on ad campaigns for EACH of these networks. Deciding the best place invest your paid ad budget can be a daunting task. What should be determined from the start is which network your current customers are most active in. Chances are, this is most likely either Facebook or Instagram. One of the key things to note about Instagram is that it is owned by Facebook and runs under the same ad platform. The most bang for your buck can be found within these two platforms and it’s important to note that because they are connected, ignoring one of them can have negative effects on the performance of the other.
Is everything now paid? Do I still need to worry about organic posts?
It’s no secret. Every social network is moving to an algorithm-based model which serves up visitors with “content that will be most interesting to them”. In reality, this is the social networks saying that if you aren’t paying, they aren’t showing your content. But if you look at your news feed, you will notice there is still a fair amount of organic content from pages, friends, and those “friends” you haven’t seen since high school. Organic content still plays a strong role in social, but the algorithm definitely favours those who have a parallel paid campaign running.
Should I trust Facebook to automatically place my ads?
Facebook allows you to choose where you ads show up within your target audience’s feed. While there is an “automatic placements” option where Facebook will optimize ad placement for bids, it is generally much more effective to select your own placements. Placing your ads directly in the newsfeed for both mobile and web is far more effective than the “right hand column” placements - When was the last time you looked at, let alone clicked, a right hand column facebook ad? Yup… the same is true for your customers.
I have an ambassador product placement strategy. Since my ambassadors aren’t “brands,” are their pages treated differently?
Unfortunately, no. If you think you can get around the “pay to play” nature of social advertising by using an ambassador network to organically promote your brand, Facebook and Instagram treat ambassador accounts and pages the exact same way. If you want to get reach through ambassador accounts, you will need to boost their posts exactly how you would those of your brand page. Ambassador strategies can be very effective at expanding your reach to their networks, but they are battling the exact same algorithms that you are.
What types of content should I be using for my paid social ads?
Within these channels and ad placements, there are many options for content mediums and their placements. One trend that has been developing is the rise of medium-short (~1minute) video clips on both Facebook and Instagram. As both channels are pushing video as a new content medium, they are favouring brands that have a good mix of video in their content streams.
Do I really need to “Boost” my post for my followers to see it?
The key to success with any social advertising campaign is to remember that it is, in fact, social. Hands down, the most effective way to simultaneously increase the exposure of your content AND increase brand awareness is to boost your social posts to target “people who like your page and their friends”. This targeting option allows you to get your content in the news feeds of those who are already following and interacting with your brand, as well as their friends who might not be.
Are these social networks ripping me off?
If you haven’t answered any of the above questions, and are currently paying for ads then chances are, yes. The structure for social ads is such that you really do get what you pay for. There are no shortcuts, but there certainly are pitfalls to avoid.
Should we be paying attention to networks outside of "the big 3"
Of course. Although Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have the most robust advertising platforms, it is essential to not forget about additional social networks where your customers might be active. Youtube is the obvious one where video pre-roll has become almost standard, but is often treated more as display advertising than social. With other networks like Snapchat jumping on the promotion bandwagon, it is definitely important that you understand where your customers are, and adapt your paid strategy.