Where there are people, there is opportunity, and never has this been more true in the age of digital marketing than with the advent of paid social media advertising.
As more marketers are turning to the allure of paid social media advertising, the time to answer the ultimate question has come: Is paid social media advertising worth fitting into your B2B marketing budget?
Here’s a look at three situations where paid advertising might be a good choice, and two situations where it’s not. Compare these recommendations to see if it’s the right move for your business.
3 Situations In Which Paid Social Media Advertising Pays Off
1. When retargeting makes sense for your business.
While not specifically social media, the topic of banner retargeting is a popular one right now to recapture people who visit your website but don’t take an action. Retargeting is the practice of placing cookies on the computer of a person who has visited specific pages on your website. When you purchase banner ad space, ads appear for your company on other websites when someone with that cookie visits. Retargeting can pay off for any B2B business, so we wholeheartedly recommend you consider retargeting if you're getting a lot of website traffic.
2. When B2B business comes in on LinkedIn
If you’re already a pro user on LinkedIn, we recommend testing Sponsored Updates. Not Ads, Sponsored Updates. We've outlined a few key differences in a previous post, but the main reason is that Sponsored Updates are much more targeted and specific for your demographics than regular Ads, and bring in a better ROI for your marketing budget. Success in the B2B market comes from getting as specific and targeted as you can, and no platform does target audiences better than LinkedIn.
3. When your promotion is time-sensitive.
Organic social engagement is vital for long-term, lifetime customers, so it makes sense to network over the long haul. But if you have a short-term promotion that you need to get the word out about (such as a fundraising event for a charity, a short-term sale, or important updates for your clients), it may be worth investing in paid promotion on social media accounts. These are promotions in which it’s important for your customers to see it quickly and take action.
2 Situations In Which Paid Social Media Advertising Fizzles
1. If you’re using it to grow your social media platform.
Your social media platform should support your business, not the other way around. If you direct your paid advertisements to your social media platforms, your platform performance will still be at the whims of secret algorithms and unpredictable changes. Just ask the popular meme website UpWorthy, which suffered a 46 percent hit to its unbelievable traffic when Facebook changed its algorithm.
2. When you want long-term, organic engagement.
Unlike organic traffic, paid traffic fizzles out when the paid campaign is over. Therefore, for long-term results, it’s cheaper to build up the traffic organically than to pay for brief spikes. Furthermore, most platforms pin a big “Sponsored Content” label on paid social media advertising. This means that your B2B audience knows from the get-go that this content was paid for and therefore may not take a genuine interest in it.
Like most questions in the world of digital marketing and advertising, the right answer depends on the needs of your business. Paid social media advertising can be a powerful tool in the hands of the right business, so consult a specialist to find out if it’s right for you.
Have you experimented with paid social media advertising? Did it work for you?
Other Paid Social Media Advertising Resources
- Nielsen's Paid Social Media Advertising Industry Update and Best Practices (Nielsen, 2013)
- How to Amplify Your Content Strategy with Social Media Advertising (Content Marketing Institute, 2013)
- Counterpoint: Don't Waste Money - Make Your Social Media Advertising Smarter, More Original, More Effective (Forbes, 2013)