How much are you investing in paid social media? Probably not enough

by Sarah Fairley

Paid social media is one of the most cost-effective platforms used by marketers and advertisers to convert consumers, engage customers and distribute content.

Yet for all its benefits, some of Australia’s biggest brands still aren’t taking advantage of the medium. A recent report released by eMarketer shows advertisers are predicted to spend $US23 billion on social media advertising in 2015, rising more than 33 per cent since last year. It is also forecasted that, by 2017, marketers will spend up to $US35.98bn on social advertising.

Facebook looks set to receive the majority of this investment, with eMarketer estimating the social networking site to take home a $15.5bn share in ad revenue this year alone.

Professor of Advertising Jon D. Morris on how social media advertising falls flat

The good news is marketers around the globe are starting to take social media marketing and advertising more seriously. According to the 2015 State of Marketing Report by Salesforce.com, marketers are increasing their social media marketing budgets to build customer engagement. This comes as Facebook’s targeting capabilities continue to improve – meaning that every advertising dollar spent connects with potential customers who have an interest in the brand or market.

This highly desirable outcome is something traditional above the line advertising simply cannot offer. With Facebook penetration in Australia reaching 13.6 million in 2014, investing in paid social media as part of a brand’s marketing strategy is a no-brainer.

Australian retailer Lorna Jane has reached dizzying heights as a successful brand, a large part of which is thanks to a sophisticated social media marketing strategy. Recently, the active wear brand hit over one million likes on Facebook – a first for an Australian retailer.

In a recent interview with CMO.com.au former head of digital for Lorna Jane, Sam Zivot, said that social media allows the brand to engage and interact with customers, which translates into stronger relationships and brand awareness. He also stressed the importance of these platforms as a means to increase in-store and online traffic and sales, drive the acquisition of new and useful insights, and reach new markets and industry influencers.

Managing director Heather Jones, analyses the importance of personalisation in social media campaigns

The strategy paid dividends for the company which, according to a recent BRW article, now boasts an additional 42 stores in the American market. Social media advertising is crucial to ensuring that more people – both new, targeted customers and existing – see the great content that you’re producing online. It also provides a direct highway straight to your owned content hub: your company website.

Recently, Australian retailer Country Road achieved great success by aligning a Facebook strategy incorporating paid advertising to promote a 40th anniversary campaign. The campaign focused on strengthening brand presence, enhancing customer experience, boosting website traffic from Facebook and learning more about customers via direct feedback on the page.

“Today, Facebook accounts for about 8% of our web traffic and 5% of our online revenue”, says the chain’s Social Media Manager, Paul Conti who also indicated Country Road has increased its Facebook Ads budget by 133 percent for the next half.

If you’re still skeptical about investing in Facebook advertising, consider this: 

        • Facebook announced in November 2014, it will penalise pages that publish ‘promotional organic posts’. Promotional organic posts include those that solely push customers to buy a product, install an app or enter a promotion.
        • Without strategically investing in targeted advertising to push your promotional content, little to no results will occur. Additionally, the quality of the content published to a business page is vital to the success of the reach.

 

The result is marketers must be creative with the content they produce, ensuring they’re adding value to their audience by offering them something entertaining, educating or interesting – not just selling. With Facebook’s organic reach at an all-time low, it’s becoming even more important for brands to join in the pay-to-play game if they want to make sure that their messaging is reaching the right digital audience.

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