If you pay attention to any content put out by Sircle Media, then you would know we are big fans of paid social (meaning paying social networks to market on their platforms). We have historically broken that down to paid acquisition and content boosting and awareness. The truth is there are really three categories and the middle lane might just be the most important. I recently recorded a podcast episode that breaks them down and below I dive in a bit more.
1- ROI/ROAS type marketing: Think driving top of funnel clicks and awarness and down funnel sales and conversions. This is true marketing via social platforms and very easily measurable and attributable. If you are looking to sell products online, this must be in the mix and will probably provide the best bang for your buck. Many brands will hire an acquisition firm or employee to run point here and they are typically measured based on their return on spend. Some brands need a return that is higher (i.e. 4X1 ROAS) and some can go 1X1 (or even lose money) depending on their product and LTV (lifetime value).
Regardless of a brand’s specific formula, whoever is running point will typically not want to get involved in the other key categories I break out below. Mainly because every dollar spent there directly impacts and compromises their ROI metrics. If only measured in that way, it makes sense but for the actual brand, it is a myopic and potentially dangerous stance. Yes, you want to sell and transact, but to have a transformational business you must also build a brand. You will need to invest money in awareness for said brand, and it is likely not your acquisition team that will want to (or should) manage that spend,
2- Awareness and Branding: Think unpublished (dark) posts, video view campaigns, A/B testing different marketing messages and different niche target groups. Essentially using the Facebook Ads platform to market your wares and putting your key messages out at scale and/or in front of highly targeted audiences.
This takes some planning, testing and experimenting with theories. Some of the metrics will seem counter-intuitive. i.e. you might actually aim for higher CPMs if that means you are hitting a more coveted and highly targeted audience, and you need to be ok with that. It is really about leveraging this insanely powerful advertising platform and thinking more about brand pushing at scale than ringing the register. It is more like TV than DR, but imagine if TV could truly segment and guarantee delivery and consumption to a bunch of different audiences for pennies on the dollar. Sounds great right? Well that’s what it is…
3- Boosting of published content: Think about all the time you spend on carefully crafting your content (assets and copy), so you should now want to guarantee delivery of those posts to specific groups. This can be done by a layman, but still requires some expertise and a fundamental understanding of how Facebook and Instagram Ads work in general.
If you sweat brand look and feel (which most brands do) then you should take the time and invest the funds to make sure that content is actually seen. If you publish and just count on organic exposure, you won’t have much luck. A little bit of money goes a long way here and if you experiment some and get a feel for which audiences perform best it can be very powerful. It is also worth noting, that if you optimize for reach or engagement you will get drastically different results and both are important. If you want to just reach a ton of people and have them see your product (awareness and consideration) then you optimize for reach, but if you want to get them to take action (trial and purchase) you want to optimize for engagement.
Paid social is a battlefield and you need to be attacking it on all three fronts. Each has tremendous value on its own and can often be run by different parties on your team. Ultimately, having all of them running together can really transform your brand from being good to great or unknown to relevant. If you fully understand the purpose each one serves, then the investment of funds and effort in each component of paid social will pay off!