Tag Archives: paid social

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Written by Caroline Cox on Mar 19

Instead of window displays, we’ve got e-commerce ads.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to determine the best e-commerce ad platforms for your brand
  • Display ads vs. PPC ads for e-commerce
  • What elements make up a successful e-commerce ad
  • Pro tips to give you an edge over competitors

Remember the mall? We barely do too. And let’s be honest: Depending on what you’re in the market for, perusing through physical aisles and racks to make a purchase isn’t the hyper-common process it once was.

These days, the bulk of shopping happens online. In 2019, reports showed that online shopping overtook a major part of retail for the first time ever — and it’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to stay in the game, online ads are a great way to do it. Search, social, and display ads allow you to target your audience, boost your clickthrough rate (CTR), increase sales, and more. For best practices, agency tips, and expert advice when it comes to e-commerce ad platforms, keep reading. 

hawksem: e-commerce ad platforms

Before you go all in on one ad platform, you need a solid understanding of where your audience is already shopping. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Work with cohesive vendors

Working with vendors that can easily integrate with the other programs your company uses will be hugely beneficial, especially as your e-commerce business grows. When you’re launching digital ads, it’ll be a more streamlined process when you’re using hosting options (like Shopify or Nexcess) that integrate well with search engines and social media platforms.

For example, if your e-commerce biz doesn’t use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool or has a custom site, you may have to jump through a few more hoops to make sure everything is synced and reporting properly when it comes to your ads. 

If you’re just starting out on the paid ads route, you can set yourself up for success by integrating with a CRM, keeping your site simple and easy to navigate, and making sure you can easily integrate with search engines and social platforms where you’d potentially want to show your ads.

2. Understand the pros and cons of paid search vs. display ads for e-commerce

Once you’ve decided to invest in digital ads, the next step is deciding which ad type to leverage. E-commerce brands can certainly find success with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC), particularly through dynamic search ads. Simply put by Google, these ad types “are the easiest way to find customers searching on Google for precisely what you offer.”

Dynamic search ads use content and keywords from your e-commerce site to help better target your ads to the right people (all the more reason to have a strong e-commerce SEO strategy). Simply add a thought-out description, and let the search engine take care of the rest, from the headlines to the landing pages. 

Hawksem: E-commerce ad platforms

An example of a paid search e-commerce ad from Herbal Dynamics Beauty

If you want to opt for display ads, e-commerce brands can try their luck with dynamic remarketing (also called retargeting). These ads populate for people who have already visited one of your product pages vs. those who have clicked an ad. These ads are a good money-saving option — you don’t have to have any other forms of advertising for them to work. You can run these on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Pro tip: How frequently you want your remarketing ad to resurface for each person is up to you. With Google, you can set a frequency cap, but with Facebook, you can’t. Depending on your offering, your ad may need to show up four or 10 times to be successful. Test out a frequency, then access the data to see how well your ads are performing and determine if you need to modify from there.

3. Determine where your audience is already shopping

Before you go all in on e-commerce ad platforms, you’ll want to have a solid understanding of where your audience is already shopping. After all, you want to meet your customer where they already are — the easier you make it for them to purchase your product or service, the higher ROI you’re likely to see.

PPC ads on Google and remarketing ads on Facebook are great places for an e-commerce brand to start. If more of your buyers are on Amazon or even Instagram, then those could be good options as well. Just make sure you’re not competing against yourself. For example, running Amazon ads may cause you to outrank your own Google Shopping items, and you don’t want that. 

hawksem: e-commerce ad platforms

Social ads are a great place to start when you’re working with a limited budget but want a decent-size reach. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Keep in mind what makes up a successful e-commerce ad

When it comes to what e-commerce ads resonate best, feel free to be your own test subject! Search for a common item, like “blue t-shirt,” on Google or Amazon, then check out the results. Which images and ad copy blurbs stand out most to you?

The elements of a successful e-commerce ad will vary by product, industry, and audience, of course. But there are few good rules of thumb that are likely to benefit brands across categories. Clear, high-quality images without cluttered backgrounds are a good place to start. You also want to be sure your products are easy to view on smartphones. Business Insider predicts that mobile shopping (aka m-commerce) will reach $284 billion, or 45% of the total U.S. e-commerce market, this year. 

Hawksem: E-commerce ad platforms

An example of a paid social ad from Intel on Twitter

Social ads are a particularly great option when you’re working with a limited budget but want a decent-size reach. For these e-commerce ad platforms, think about how you can make your ad seamlessly fit in with organic posts on that specific platform. Depending on which site your ad will appear on, consider elements like GIFs or videos, hashtags, platform-relavant verbiage (like “retweet” on Twitter, for example). Just make sure you’re still being authentic and try to your brand — a joke that falls flat is worse than no joke at all!

Pro tip: Got a brick-and-mortar location? Make sure your Google My Business (GMB) page is set up correctly with tags in place and the most up-to-date info. If people can’t easily find your physical space (or if your page looks low-quality because Google auto-populated it), they may opt to go elsewhere instead. 

5. Don’t forget about seller ratings

Especially for highly competitive markets, having seller ratings on your ads can be a game-changer for your CTR. As we’ve mentioned, peer recommendations, research, and product reviews are some of the most influential factors that affect purchasing decisions. If you’ve ever compared an item with 3 out of 5 stars to one with 5 out of 5, then gone with the latter, you know what we mean.

As with any ad, think about what sets you apart from your competitors. Something like free shipping may not be as appealing if most of the brands similar to yours are offering that as well. Don’t be afraid to get creative — is your product the softest, fastest, the first of its kind, or something else? Use that angle in your copy to help the item shine. 

6. Perform tests to see what appeals most to your audience

Predicting is one thing — analyzing the data is, of course, another. Once you begin launching e-commerce ads, keep in mind that continued testing will be one of the most effective ways to understand your target audience and what resonates with them. 

Do they prefer free two-day shipping or a coupon code? Do they click more on white backgrounds or real-life images? Consistent testing and measuring will help you answer these questions.

hawksem: e-commerce ad platforms

With so much shopping taking place online these days, having ads for your e-commerce brand just makes sense. (Image via Unsplash)

Pro tip: Before beginning, determine the goals of your paid ad strategy. Especially if you’re working with an agency, it’s crucial that everyone is aligned on budget, KPIs, and what success looks like. Even if you’re just starting out with e-commerce ads, you can still look at your spend and product costs to determine what numbers would mean a campaign was successful.

The takeaway

With so much shopping taking place online these days — for everything from necessities to luxury goods — having ads for your e-commerce brand just makes sense. It’s a great way to expand your reach, boost your sales, and beat out your competition.

By following best practices — like having goals in mind, determining where your audience likes to shop, and making sure you’re putting your business’s best face forward online — you can leverage e-commerce ad platforms and be on the right path to getting the ROI you seek.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Feb 26

The 411 on social media marketing, from LinkedIn to Instagram and everything in between

Here, you’ll find:

  • A breakdown of the main paid social platforms
  • How to determine which platform is right for you
  • Best practices for audience targeting
  • Steps to building a successful paid social campaign

Whether you’re a constant Twitter feed refresher or barely remember to check your LinkedIn messages, social media’s influence on current culture can’t be denied. 

As a society more interconnected than ever, these platforms help us keep up with friends and family, stay informed about current events, foster professional connections, and offer glimpses into our real lives — whether filtered or not.

So it’s no surprise that paid social, also known as social media marketing, can be a huge boost for digital marketing programs — if you know how to do it right. For tips, best practices, expert advice, and more, read on.

What is paid social?

When we say “paid social,” we’re talking about sponsored or promoted posts on social media platforms. These posts are a form of advertising that appear in a social media feed, timeline, or on a page. These posts can pop up on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. (We’ll dig deeper into the various platforms below.)

Brands often use paid social to expand their reach and target their audience in a way that’s both hyper-focused and seamless. Since most audience types are already on some form of social media, paid social posts can be a highly effective way to meet your ideal personas where they already are.

HawkSEM: Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A paid social ad on Twitter (Image via Twitter)

The main players in paid social

When it comes to paid social, the platforms you choose to advertise on will depend on a few factors: mainly, your product or service, the type of ad, and your audience. While the list isn’t stagnant or set in stone, the main players when it comes to paid social platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube (owned by Google).

As with many other parts of creating a digital marketing strategy, knowing your target audience is key. If you don’t already have your personas mapped out, start with creating one to three profiles using resources like market research, your ideal client persona (ICP), and the demographics of your current customers.

For a paid social ad campaign, you also want to know which platform or platforms your audience gravitates towards. Generally, professionals favor LinkedIn. Gen X and Boomers tend to spend more time on Facebook than others. Pinterest is mostly visited by women, while Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter all tend to skew more Millennial.  

There are other platforms, of course, including Snapchat and TikTok. These apps aren’t as popular when it comes to advertising (though they do offer these services), either because they’re newer or because they’re more popular with younger generations who don’t have as much buying power.

Perhaps your audience overlaps multiple generations or other demographics. If so, you can always begin with the more affordable platforms, conduct a few A/B ad tests, see how your audience reacts, and iterate accordingly.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A sponsored post above an organic post on HawkSEM’s Twitter feed (Image via Twitter)

How is paid social different from organic social media posts?

One benefit of paid social ads for the brands leveraging them is how well they fit into a user’s existing social feeds. These feeds are mostly populated with what’s called organic posts. These are free posts published by people you follow and brands whose pages you like or subscribe to.  

Basically, organic content is what you post on your business or personal page, whether directly or through a scheduling platform like Hootsuite. This content is seen by your followers and subscribers, though the exact percentage of followers who see this content varies by platform. These posts can also be shared by other individuals and spread further than just your following. 

With sponsored content —aka paid social — you’re paying the advertiser (which is the social media platform in this case) to put your post or ad in front of people beyond your current following. You choose the audience you want and the platform places the ads accordingly, per the parameters you set. 

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

78% say Instagram posts are the most effective content format for influencer marketing — 73% say it’s Instagram Stories. (Image via Unsplash)

Which paid social platforms should my company leverage?

As we mentioned above, the social platform your company opts to advertise on will depend on your audience. It’s good to have an understanding of what people use each platform for (we’ll get into that next). SaaS brands aren’t likely to find much success on Snapchat, for instance.

Once you understand your demo (age, gender, et cetera), check out the breakdown of their profile or subscriber averages per platform. Sprout Social has compiled data that breaks down demographics by platform in a handy infographic. 

After deciding on a platform, you’ve still got to determine which ad type you want to go with. Luckily, platforms like Facebook have ad managers that make it easier to decide which ad is right for you.

Tips for creating a successful paid social campaign

After you’ve determined the social media platform you’ll leverage for your campaign, you can start the work of actually building it. The must-haves for a good social campaign include:

  • Determining your goals: There are a lot of options for the type of campaign you can run. Begin with deciding what you want from these efforts first, whether it’s purchases, profile follows, subscribers, or something else.
  • Keep user intent in mind: What is the user’s purpose on these social channels? For example, Facebook is more for leisure, connection, and entertainment, while LinkedIn is more for networking and professional opportunities. Keep these things in mind when choosing the audience you want to target — and what you want from them. 
  • Content is the key: No surprise here: The content of your paid social ad is the most important factor in its success. Make sure the imagery is high-quality, the copy speaks directly to your target audience, and it links to a consistent landing page with a clear call to action (CTA).

Pro tip: Make sure you know the parameters of the social media platform you’re using. Some platforms are more strict than others when it comes to the quality of your image or video, for example. Different types of ad creatives may require varying specs, text lengths, video length caps, and more. Check out the platform’s website to learn more about each and find the one that best fits your campaign creative.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

Instagram’s ad targeting options (Image via Instagram)

What are some stats on social media marketing?

  • 89% of marketers use Facebook in their brand marketing efforts.
  • More than 90% of millennials, 77.5% of Gen X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers actively use social media.
  • Twitter ads are 11% more effective than TV ads during live events.
  • Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users — a more than 40% increase from 2017, when it had 700 million.
  • 80% of social media B2B leads are sourced from LinkedIn.
  • YouTube is the preferred form of social media marketing worldwide — 83% of all consumers prefer it.
  • 78% say Instagram posts are the most effective content format for influencer marketing, while 73% say it’s Instagram Stories.

What are the benefits of paid social?

The powerful targeting capability is one of the biggest benefits of leveraging paid social as part of your digital marketing strategy. Not only can you reach people based on their interests, hobbies, past internet usage (cookies), demographics, locations, and more, you can also target those in different stages of the buying cycle.

Another paid social benefit is the robust analytics these platforms offer. Not only can you see who clicks your ad, but you’re also often privy to metrics like impressions, likes, shares, and other related, relevant actions.

Some of the more overlooked benefits, according to Sprout Social, include:

  • Uncovering industry trends in real-time
  • Easy competitive analysis
  • A direct communication line to your customers and prospects
  • Humanizing your brand
  • Access to user generated content (UGC) related to your brand

HubSpot reports that paid social campaigns are great for increasing brand awareness, generating leads, boosting conversions, and fostering relationships with customers as well.

While brand awareness may be seen as easier to achieve but less valuable than these other benefits, it’s the first step to turning a person into a lead. 

Pro tip: While each of these platforms has tracking capabilities for your campaigns, it’s a good idea to be independently tracking performance as well (you can use your host site’s tracking or a program like Google Tag Manager). Not only does this ensure your tracking is accurate, but it offers a true set of revenue and goal data once your program is fully ramped up.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

There’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. (Image via Unsplash)

Audience segmentation options

Your options for audience segmentation will vary by platform. Let’s break it down.

LinkedIn – segment by:

  • Job experience & skills
  • Education & degrees
  • Age & gender
  • Company industry & size
  • Interests
  • Location & language
  • Job function, title & seniority

Facebook – segment by:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Connections
  • Interests
  • Behavior

YouTube – segment by:

  • In-market audiences (interest or topic based)
  • Affinity audiences (interest or topic based)

Twitter – segment by:

  • Age or gender
  • Username
  • Interest (including TV targeting)
  • Conversation
  • Event
  • Tailored (from your website visitor and/or CRM data)

Instagram – segment by:

  • Location
  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Lookalikes
  • Automated
  • Custom (remarketing)

Pinterest – segment by:

  • Customer list
  • Previous site visitors
  • Previous pin engagements
  • Lookalikes
HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

YouTube’s Find My Audience tool gives you a selection of categories to target by interest or industry. (Image via Google)

Know how to succeed on each platform

Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. These include:

  • Prioritizing your campaign’s creative components (copy and imagery/graphics)
  • Copy that is clear, easy to understand, and concise
  • A message that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • The platform that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • A clear CTA

On the back end, you also want to double-check that the destination link (the URL the ad links to) is correct and working. You also want to set up good tracking to ensure you’ve got accurate analytics from the beginning — most platforms have an in-house pixel you can place on the ad.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to hop on the bandwagon of every emerging social media app. And while it’s good to go ahead and snag your company’s name as a username on the platform just in case, it’s often better to allocate your budget to more established platforms. Keep an eye on what’s trending by subscribing to social media-focused newsletters, so you can stay in the loop when it comes to what might be worth your advertising dollars down the line.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s ads let you target different funnel stages as well as demographics. (Image via LinkedIn)

Testing paid social ads

Just like you (hopefully) would with any other digital marketing campaign, testing and iterating should be baked into your process. Consider testing out varieties of copy, visuals, and mediums, such as an image vs. a short video.

It’s worth noting that some industries may naturally perform better than others, and some platforms are harder than others to achieve success. But there are things you can do to set yourself up for maximum return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Let’s talk about visuals. In this day and age, a fuzzy, low-quality video or image just won’t cut it. You don’t have to blow through your budget on visuals, but you may have to get creative. Sometimes a stock photo — possibly overlaid in your brand’s colors — can be the perfect complement to get your point across. 

And, again, it’s about knowing the intent of each platform. LinkedIn may not be the place for a goofy video, and trying to get template or whitepaper downloads on Instagram might be a bust.

Lastly, if your business has a creative team in charge of ad design, make sure they have the proper specs for the platform. If you’re running a video ad, you should know how long it can be before it cuts off.

This also will vary: currently, LinkedIn cut off after a certain time, while Facebook doesn’t, and you can’t use IGTV (a popular choice for longer videos) for ads. Your quality score may be based off of the media you upload, so it should be high-quality.

Budgeting and goal-setting for paid social ads

Remember what we said before about determining your goals? You should have goals figured out before you create your campaign because having the goals you want — whether that’s a certain number of purchases per month, a certain ROAS percentage, or something else — makes the process go much smoother. 

Some platforms, such as Facebook, optimize your campaign to your goal. Awareness campaigns, for example, are more broad and thus harder to track, so knowing that from the beginning helps you create realistic goals.

The bigger the platform and audience, the more homed in on your goal you’ll want to be. You don’t need to worry about being as targeted on a comparatively smaller platform like LinkedIn as you do on a larger, more globally used platform like Facebook.

When it comes to goal setting (also called the campaign’s objective), start small. We don’t suggest running a giant $2,000 a day campaign straight out of the gate. You can also experiment with targeting different locations instead of trying to blanket the entire country — your budget will go much further this way.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

Facebook’s ad objective breakdown for the Consideration stage. (Image via Facebook)

Depending on your product or service, the platform may be able to guide you towards the ad type that’s best for your goal. Try out their recommendation, then you can better optimize from there as the data comes in.

When you’re building your campaign, most platforms have an “audience reached” metric on the back end that will tell you the approximate audience size for your chosen parameters, as well as what you can reach with your chosen budget.

The takeaway

With the popularity of social media growing exponentially by the year, it’s definitely worth exploring as part of any robust digital marketing program. Those who find success with paid social do so by having a solid strategy laid out and an idea of the right platforms for their brand before they start building.

By recognizing that content is key, remembering each platform has different requirements, understanding your audience, targeting properly, and budgeting appropriately, you’ll find that social platforms can be a fun and creative way to connect with and grow your audience.

Ready to take your paid social campaigns to the next level in 2020? Check out our list of tactical tips and tricks you can put into action today. 

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jan 21

Do you feel like no one gets you the way your targeted Instagram ads do? You’re not alone.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The benefits of leveraging paid social
  • How to determine which platform is right for your brand
  • Missteps to avoid when creating paid social campaigns
  • Ways to make your paid social content stand out

When it comes to digital marketing, few areas are as adaptable and ever-changing as paid social. Particularly for younger audiences, this avenue can bring brands big success by seamlessly fitting into the feeds people are already scrolling day in and day out. 

Whether your audience prefers the professionalism of LinkedIn or the colorful features on Instagram, you can take your paid social campaigns to the next level in 2020 with these tactical tips and tricks. 

HawkSEM: 7 Tips for Successful Paid Social in 2020

Make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Ensure you’re tracking everything properly

Setting up proper tracking is one of the most important steps you can take when creating paid social campaigns (or any marketing campaigns, really). Having proper tracking in place from the beginning ensures that you’ll have all the metrics at your disposal to analyze, report on, and use to improve your current strategies.

For starters, you want to make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. From there, make sure to test your tracking so you know all is operating as it should. 

When you’re setting up tracking, you also want to determine the most valuable metrics for each campaign. Decide which data will be most valuable for your goals, whether that’s lead gen, brand awareness, conversions, or something else.

2. Have a plan for consistent testing

Sure, you know testing is a key part of creating the most effective campaigns. But having a plan in place for how often you’ll perform testing can keep this task from falling to the bottom of that ever-growing to-do list.

You never want to be satisfied with your current results — they could always be better! You may be able to find new copy, new imagery, or even a slightly different price point that could improve your campaign performance and get you a higher ROI.

Add a recurring note in your calendar or project management app to revisit your paid social metrics and see where you can make tweaks or improvements.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to simply eliminate a failed paid social idea. But before you start over from scratch, see if there’s a way to tweak the campaign or ad first, like swapping out the image or call to action (CTA). A small fix may be the key to turning a mediocre campaign into a successful one.

3. Don’t let personal bias get in your way

I know what you’re thinking: biased? Me? Never! But hear me out. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being so familiar with your product or service that you don’t take into account that those seeing your paid social campaign might not be. When you use too much jargon or assume users have a certain level of knowledge, you risk alienating them.

Alternatively, your target audience can surprise you. You may think a certain offering or product will appeal most to them, but that may not actually be the case. While you’re testing and iterating, keep an open mind. Let data drive your decision-making, not your personal opinion.

HawkSEM: 7 Tips for Successful Paid Social in 2020

For the best results, you want to use the platform where the majority of your customers are. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Consider your target audience when choosing platforms

Ads can appear on multiple platforms, from Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook to Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and even TikTok. (Feel old yet?) When you’re determining which platform would work best for your paid social ad, consider your audience.

Some people default to opting for the platform they’re most familiar with. For the best results, however, you want to go to where the majority of your customers are. You can find this info through your own research, discussions with customers, and market surveys. And if you find the platform you chose isn’t working? Test out a new one and see how it stacks up.

5. Set a high bar for your content

Millions of pieces of content are posted online every day. WordPress users alone produce more than 70 million new blog posts each month. With so much out there, what you publish needs to be interesting, engaging, and eye-catching to compete.

With younger generations sporting short attention spans for ads, it’s more important than ever to create paid social posts that:

  • are targeted
  • quickly grab the viewer’s attention
  • provide entertainment value
  • are memorable in some way

Pay attention to the ads that catch your eye on social — what messages do they include? What’s the CTA? What visual elements do they have? This insight can help inform how you approach your own paid social.

6. Prioritize CTAs

Back to testing — one area that can make or break a paid social campaign is your CTA. Many businesses will focus too much on the ad and not enough on what action they want the viewer to take next. When you’re creating paid social campaigns, spend time making sure your CTA is strong and drives the viewer to make the decision you want. 

Speaking of your viewers, don’t be afraid to mix up who you’re targeting. You may think the ideal audience for a new cookbook is middle-aged women, but you could be missing out on a whole segment of young college students who want to learn to cook as well. It’s all about being open-minded and testing to see what works best.

HawkSEM: 7 Tips for Successful Paid Social in 2020

While it may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy ad platform or new format, it can end up giving you an edge over your competition. (Image via Unsplash)

7. Embrace new layouts and features

The nature of social media is that these platforms usually don’t stay stagnant for too long. With growing competition and a handful of big platforms vying for the most eyeballs, there’s a near-constant stream of updates and changes.

But while it may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy ad platform or new format, it can end up giving you an edge over your competition. 

Often, when beta versions of these social platforms are released, a site-wide change isn’t far behind. By trying out a new feature or interface when it’s first available to test, you can set yourself up to be a pro at the new way of doing things — potentially before other brands who are competing against you.

Better yet, these new tools could give you an extra boost, like refining your target audience or improving your return on ad spend (ROAS). 

The takeaway

Paid social campaigns certainly have a place in your digital marketing program in 2020. Not only do social platforms have sophisticated audience segmentation options, but they allow you to meet your prospects where they are in a way that’s targeted, yet feels organic.

By following steps like consistently testing, tracking properly, and creating engaging content, you can be sure your paid social plans are set up for success this year and beyond.

Want more ways to amp up your paid social in 2020? Let’s talk. 

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Jane Serra on Dec 9

Facebook ads are a vital part of an engaging digital marketing strategy – if you know how to leverage them. With so many segments and tools, creating ads can get overwhelming fast.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to choose the best objective for your FB ads
  • The best FB ads format for reaching each of your goals
  • A few tips for creating the best ads to reach your audience

Of all the social media platforms, Facebook offers one of the most powerful advertising solutions for businesses. But with great possibility sometimes comes great confusion.

The Facebook Ads Manager

The Facebook Ads Manager

The Facebook Ad Manager is designed to help you personalize your strategy as much as possible — which is effective if you know what you’re doing (and potentially costly if you don’t).

Need some Facebook ads help? Let’s go over the basics of how to choose the best solution for your business.

Choosing the right Facebook ad format for your objective

First, you’ll want to choose a key objective or goal for your Facebook advertising efforts.

You can’t choose multiple objectives for each ad — and really, you wouldn’t want to. Single calls-to-action (CTAs) perform best because they provide straightforward direction. Instead, create multiple ads for each goal.

https://i0.wp.com/hawksem.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HawkSEM-Facebook-ads.png

How do you choose the right objective for your ad campaign? We’re glad you asked! Just decide which stage of the buying cycle you want to target.

After that, you’ll need to decide which format to use. The objective you choose for your FB ads dictates which types of media you can use.

Keep in mind that within each campaign, you will also set specific audiences based on:

  • People who have already visited your website, liked your pages, signed up for any of your email lists, or provided an email address to download lead magnets
  • New audiences based on a set of specific demographics and interests you choose.
  • Lookalike audiences that Facebook creates based on common qualities of lists you upload
  • People local to your business or in a certain geolocation

Once you create a perfect audience segment, you can save it for later. Let’s get to it!

Facebook ads for awareness

Depending on your goals, you could use awareness FB ads to:

  • Reach the 2.5 billion monthly active users who may have no idea your business exists
  • Build brand trust among your current audience (this one is especially useful for B2B or high-risk B2C purchases)

Awareness campaigns are best suited for targeting audiences at the top of your sales funnel with straightforward content. Use them for demand generation, explaining your values, or reaching new customers within a certain distance.

For awareness, you can choose these formats and features:

  • Single image or video
  • Video or image carousel
  • Website links and branded partner content

Pro tip: Use high-quality images, infographics, or short video clips to quickly grab attention.

Facebook ads for consideration

Consideration Facebook ads are best for audience members in the top-middle of the funnel. These folks know your brand exists, but they need some in-depth, high-quality content and a little nurturing.

You’ll want this audience to take some kind of action — like downloading your app, filling out a form, or messaging your page for more information — but not necessarily converting into a customer (quite yet).

That’s why Facebook lets you choose from several different formats and features:

  • Single image or video
  • Video or image carousel
  • Product collections
  • Instant lead generation forms
  • Message buttons and prompts
  • Deferred deep links (within apps)
  • FB events

Pro tip: Use some of your best performing blog posts, infographics, videos, or other personalized content to engage your target audience during this stage.

Facebook ads for conversions

Now it’s time to convert your bottom-of-the-funnel leads into buyers. You’ve already spent time nurturing these leads and building awareness.

Along with the features below, you can also enable Facebook Pixel, which tracks your visitors’ online behavior so you can retarget them with relevant content on Facebook. Facebook Pixel is especially useful for tracking the ROI of your Facebook strategy through conversions.

  • Single image or video
  • Product collections
  • CTA buttons like “shop now,” “book now,” or “donate now”
  • Product catalogs (available for travel, e-commerce, real estate, and auto)
  • Physical store traffic (for qualifying businesses with physical locations)

Pro tip: With product catalogs, Facebook can use your inventory to create dynamic ads based on products your followers have already viewed on your website.

FB instant experience

Include an Instant Experience

With each objective, Facebook Ads will also ask if you’d like to include an Instant Experience. Instant Experiences allow you to create a fullscreen interactive landing page with rich media like GIFs, products, videos, and more.

Have you heard of Facebook Canvas ads? Instant Experiences replaced them. They feel like you’re visiting a web page, but you’re really just viewing a fullscreen advertisement within the Facebook app.

Instant Experiences are useful because you don’t have to worry about creating accelerated mobile landing pages (AMP) or slow load times because your viewers will never leave the Facebook app, and everything loads at lightning speed.

HawkSEM - Facebook Ads 101

The takeaway

Facebook is loaded with awesome features for personalizing your content at every stage of the buying cycle. It’s confusing if you’re not familiar with the basics, but once you get your hands dirty (metaphorically), you can create an effective strategy in no time.

HawkSEM helps businesses assess their unique place in the social media landscape to create engaging campaigns. Want some Facebook ads help? Let’s talk about it!

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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