Targeted Social Media Advertising

We have entered the attention economy where human attention is a scarce commodity. American consumers will ingest over 1.7 trillion hours with an average of approximately 15.5 hours per person per day of traditional and digital media, according to USC Marshall School of Business research.
The average attention span is now eight seconds.
As a business owner, how do you break through and reach your customers in this age of information overload and short attention spans?
This is where social advertising can be helpful to your business. The average American spends about 50 minutes a day on Facebook and Instagram via Facebook. When you add in that most people have at least five social media accounts, it’s clear that social media is where you need to be for your business.

Why are social media advertising desirable?

Because it’s easily integrated, it’s cost effective and it’s very targeted.
Outside of the traditional Google Adwords — an online advertising service in which advertisers pay to display brief advertising copy to web users based on keywords — there are many options on social media platforms. Depending on your audience, based on your ideal customer profile, you should select the best platform for your business.

Most of the social media platforms have some form of advertising programs.

The big three social media platforms for you to explore first for your business are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Facebook: This option is suitable for most businesses because there is such widespread usage along all demographics. There are two options for advertising: Boost Posts show up in the News Feed of your targeted audience and direct ads on the right sidebar. Cost of advertising starts at $5 per day and can increase from there depending on how long and targeting.
Instagram: This be best used by a more visual businesses such as clothing and jewelry as well as restaurants. Users are mostly in the demographic of 18-29. Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012; however, since October 2016, advertising has been available to all businesses. Instagram ads appear as sponsored posts and there are three options: photo, video, or carousel ads. Advertising typically starts at $20 per day and higher.
Pinterest: This digital idea board is really geared for visual businesses like Instagram. Ages 18-29 and 30-49 equally use Pinterest regularly with more women on the platform. There are two options: boost engagement with your pins and get traffic to your website. Costs vary for Pinterest.
Depending on your business, you can advertise on YouTube and Twitter. LinkedIn even offers ads if your business is more business-to-business and not business-to-consumer.
What is helpful about social ads is that they are very targeted. No spray-and-pray advertising. You can be very specific about whom you want to reach. Campaigns are very flexible and easily adjusted based on responses. For example, you can set a seven-day ad on Facebook for $30.
Before you commit to social advertising, you need to think about your purpose: have a plan, decide what your key performance indicators are and know your audience.
Once you have decided on your goal, audience, and platform, the key is to create effective content. Visual content is important and strong copy is essential. When preparing content for social ads, it is imperative that you remember we are in the attention economy.

Try to make sure your social advertising have both of these elements:

▪  Copy that is clear, not clever. Tell people the who, what, where, and/or why.
▪  Visual content that is strong and good quality, drawing the eye of the user.
Social media advertising can help you reach customers in the digital spaces where they spend the most time.
This column was originally published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on November 28, 2016 and nationally distributed  to over 300 media outlets through the Tribune Content Agency. 

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