Social media advertising is easy! Well, it’s certainly easy to set up and spend money anyway. Facebook offers huge and accurate interest based audiences as well as access to its other apps to advertise on. This combined with great tracking has led to Facebook being the dominant social media advertising platform. The UK market alone spent over £3billion on digital advertising in 2019, with Facebook and Google taking an enormous slice of that particular pie, with spending expected to hit the £5billion+ mark this year,
I’ve probably just told you a lot of things you already know, so why write this article? Here are some major things to consider:
- There are huge changes in tracking happening and more on the way. Accurately identifying ROAS, getting accurate audiences and remarketing is about to become much more challenging.
- There is now a higher demand on the available ad slots, which is pushing CPCs, CPMs etc higher too.
- Reasonably good creative is getting easier and cheaper to produce
(Hi, Canva) so creatively there is enormous pressure (and opportunity) to stand out
- First party data is about to become royalty, which it kind of should have been anyway! (Get your email marketing lists sorted and build a community, people!)
- The ad platforms still hold an enormous amount of contextual data so in market/in search audiences are going to be very important as opposed to broader interest based ones
I’ve felt for a long time that there are some criminally underused advertising platforms online and they are all well known and enormous in their own right! The selection of these must all stem from a solid strategy. Where do your audience spend time? Where are the decision influencers/leaders posting content? Go there in a meaningful way. Digital marketing can sometimes fall down the trap of rushing to get going because it is so easy to set up an advert on a platform like Facebook. Know. Your. Audience! But that’s an entire other blog post.
So if you’re a marketer looking for some other channel inspiration, here are my favourites below:
What - “It’s a search engine”. I’m sure we’ve all heard this being parroted around before, and technically it does work a bit like that, but it’s more of an inspiration engine. I can’t think of another platform with the ability to get amongst your customers at research level.
Why - People spend a lot of time on Pinterest.They’re looking for inspiration and saving content is part of the user process. Again, it’s hard to think of a platform where the user is likely to save your advert/pin to refer back to later. Just massive. We ran Pinterest ads for two clients and the results were amazing.
How - Pinterest is able to target using all of the usual demographics: location, lookalikes, age and interest based metrics. Pinterest can also target by search term. Again, this is a massive opportunity.. Use natural product images where possible, and provide product information as well as context for how and where it’s used. Feed Pinterest as much information as possible to ensure people can discover it.
What - The front page of the internet. Need I say more? Everything that goes viral has often been going around Reddit for at least a few days before it hits other platforms. In fact, a fair chunk of Buzzfeed back in the day was “inspired” by Reddit.
Why - It’s a worldwide platform focussed around passionate communities, some in the hundreds of millions, and some much smaller. Huel has done an excellent job building a brand on Reddit and is one to look to for inspiration here.
How - Research. There’s an amazing subreddit search tool here - subreddits search. The main difference here is creative and copy. Shiny, snappy and short copy doesn’t really cut it here. You need to have something to contribute to those communities - go for long conversational headings and use both video and image ads. I’d be testing at least five variants from the start and monitor them regularly.
What - One of the largest audio streaming platforms in the world. Spotify comes with both free and premium packages. Ad supported listeners tend to be Millennials and Gen X (ages 25-44).
Why - In short, they are audio display ads. Realistically, it’s a new wave of radio advertising. Nothing is truly new in marketing, is it?. Targeting relies on all the usual metrics, but with one really interesting ability and it’s why I’ve included it. You can select users based on current activity, e.g. they’re listening to a gym or workout playlist, so we can assume they’re at the gym or at least go to the gym every now and then. This is just one example, but there are a lot of categories to choose from.
How - You’re going to need ear grabbing audio. Spotify will produce it for you based on a script for free, which is a great service. Or you can do it yourself, which will give you creative freedom to do something truly interesting. You’ll also need visual assets which will appear on desktop and mobile players. Make it match your key message and expect a CTR of <0.5%. If you need clicks then this isn’t the platform for your brand.
Other notable mentions
- Nextdoor - I think there’s big potential here considering the community nature as well as some of the other features within the app. If it launches a proper self-serve ad manager then I think that will open the door to more brands
- Google Maps - I really do like the idea of simple and effective localised search for some brands. Not every campaign has to reinvent the wheel.
- Bing - It has an older user. Shopping campaigns tend to do well, and you can even import Facebook campaigns automatically which presents a lot of opportunities.
- Quora - It might seem like a non-brainer, but advertising around people looking for answers to their questions is an effective way to hit the right audience.
There are so many options out there, and you don’t just have to rely on Facebook. Look at where your audience is and plan your budgets accordingly. Be prepared to test audiences, budgets, objectives, creatives, and dynamic feeds.