According to recent figures from eMarketer, by the time the year is out, advertisers will have spent nearly $24 billion on paid media on social networks, a 33.5% increase on last year. North American companies are forecast to spend the most, at $10 billion, with Western European businesses totting up nearly $5 billion.
Consumer brands are all over social. It’s where their consumers are, and the ever-evolving way in which these channels operate means that paid media is the only way brands can get in front of the right eyes – as we’ve mentioned before algorithm changes have made organic reach on Facebook for companies a thing of the past. This has led previously ad-free channels, such as Snapchat, to experiment with ad offerings for business, or to embrace them wholeheartedly, as in the case of Instagram which expanded its ads to businesses of all sizes in June this year.
But what about B2B organisations and corporates? Snapchat, Instagram… not for you? Don’t be hasty. As ever, it depends on what you want to say and who you want to say it to.
That’s where my initial question comes in: is your social media ad budget in the right hands? Because when it comes to media spend the traditional path is still the most well trodden – to trust your budget for social to the same people who look after your wider ad spend. And for economies of scale this might make sense.
But what about niche campaigns? Those very specific, targeted projects that support your corporate messaging but are not selling a product or a service, or are designed to appeal to specific audience that’s perfectly at home on social such as Millennials (and who isn’t trying to talk to this demographic right now?).
“Social media allows big companies to act small again,” is a quote that US marketer Jay Baer uses regularly. Trialing paid promotion on social channels could get you in front of your desired audience. However, I know from experience that getting it right on social – whether in terms of paid or earned media – can be a case of trial and error. Testing headlines and images, or reacting quickly to engagement, requires a nimble approach that isn’t a common characteristic among larger media buyers, but is often the forte of a smaller agency.
You see where I’m going with this. You need to look for an agency that can devise your strategy, produce the creative and then manage your social ad campaign with the right level of flexibility, and that might not be a behemoth media company. Trust some of your spend to the little guys and you’ll be rewarded with a campaign that’s tailored and responsive, which is exactly what social media marketing is all about.