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Advertising Through Social Media

Want to spend four million on your next ad? That’s how much the big corporate giants paid for a 30-second commercial during the 2013 Super Bowl game.

Not in your budget this year?

Although most companies can’t spend that kind of money on just one ad, all businesses know the importance of advertising, and are always pursuing new and more effective ways to attract customers. With consumers spending more time on social media platforms, it makes sense for companies to consider this channel. Not only is it more cost effective than traditional advertising, it appears to be the wave of the future. The numbers keep rising every year – in fact, social media ad revenue is expected to grow to 11 billion dollars by 2017.

If you’re looking to get started, here’s a quick and brief summary on four popular sites to consider.

Facebook

With more than 500 million active Facebook users sharing 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) each month, it’s no wonder why businesses like to advertise here.

Pros:

  • Costs are pretty reasonable which allows companies of any size or budget to easily test them out
  • Depending on complexity, ads can be launched quickly
  • You can target your audience with detailed requirements like age range, gender, location, and interests
  • Multiple variations of your ad can be created and tracked for performance

Cons:

  • Ads are short: You’re limited to a 25 character headline and 90 characters of text
  • Ad campaigns default to a per-day budget on a cost per impressions (CPM) basis. Although cost per click (CPC) pricing is available too, Facebook doesn’t offer much guidance on how to choose between them
  • You’ll have to be creative to make your ad stand out as advertising overload is a raising concern.

Learn more on Facebook

LinkedIn

If you’re B2B, this platform is for you. With nearly 90 million members in more than 200 countries, a new member joins the LinkedIn community approximately every second. And according to the LinkedIn Facts page, executives from all Fortune 500 companies are members.

Pros:

  • You’ll get step-by-step instructions on how to create your ad
  • You can promote either your LinkedIn page or your website URL.
  • Like Facebook, you can create different ad variations in one campaign and track performance
  • You can target your audience with detailed requirements, including location, job title, age, gender, current employer and graduating school
  • The program offers Lead Collection system tool at no extra charge

Cons:

  • Ads are short; headlines can be 25 characters and description text is limited to 75 characters.
  • Pricey: You can choose to pay per click or per impression, and it isn't cheap. There’s a minimum daily budget and new users must also pay a one-time activation fee.

Learn more on LinkedIn

YouTube

Online video advertising is expected to hit 5.7 billion dollars by 2014. With an estimated one billion unique, monthly visitors worldwide, 51 percent of YouTube users visit weekly or more often and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues.

Pros:

  • Offers a number of advertising opportunities including display ads, in-video ads, and promoted videos.
  • You can create targeted campaigns by choosing topics, keywords or demographics
  • Only pay when target elects to watch your video

Cons:

  • You don’t have any control in choosing what content ads appear before or next to yours, so there's the potential that a competitor's video will appear right next to your ad

Learn more on Youtube

Twitter

Although fairly new to the advertising arena, this micro-blogging site has 230 million active users, posting 500 million tweets per day

Pros:

  • You can target by keywords, phrases, users who visit your page, and followers of a particular user
  • Basic setup is simple and self-explanatory
  • Ads run almost immediately
  • Typically less expensive than alternate PPC options

Cons:

  • You can’t target your audience like you can with Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Tracking and reporting with their ad interface is not as robust
  • There is more manual effort needed to manage ad campaigns

Learn more on Twitter

While it’s true that social media platforms were originally built as tools for networking only, they are proving to be successful for companies to connect with their audiences as well.

So consider the different advertising options available to you to promote your brand and complement your online presence.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are trademarks of Facebook, Inc. LinkedIn, Inc. and Twitter, Inc. respectively.