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What is Paid Social and Why It’s Taking the Marketing World by Storm

Social Media Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Strategy

What is Paid Social and Why It’s Taking the Marketing World by Storm

A new day, a new age. Out with the old, in with the new. In comes paid social, marketing for the digital age; out goes organic and print media.

Social media has brought the world to our fingertips—and with it, an emphasis on social advertising. As of 2016, internet users spend an average of 2 hours on social media per day, up 9 minutes from 2015. As more of our lives are spent online, more opportunities arise for marketers to get the most out of these platforms. This is where paid social comes in.

What exactly is paid social?

Paid social is sponsored content or advertising—such as sponsored Facebook posts or promoted tweets on Twitter—that is used to increase your brand’s presence. At its core, paid social allows you to reach people who may not follow you directly, but who have expressed an interest in your type of product, or who fall within your product’s target demographic.

Now, why is paid social such a big deal, and why are marketers obsessed? If you’re new to paid social, these tips will help you get started on developing a social ad strategy. Here are the nuts and bolts:

  • Paid social helps you target specific audiences, allowing you to direct a message of specific interest to them, while also expanding consumer awareness of your brand—increasing both audience engagement and your brand’s reach.
  • As opposed to a print ad that anyone can see, social ads allow you to hone in on the people most likely to invest in your product. On LinkedIn, for example, you can promote content to people based on anything from their job title to their company to their location, allowing you to reach your ideal audience with ease.
  • A paid social strategy lets you include a clickable call-to-action (CTA) within your ad, that will lead them to “learn more,” or “buy now,” or “start your 30-day free trial.” This creates a direct tie-in from the ad to the product, giving the consumer an easy way to view and/or purchase it online. A recent study saw that adding a CTA to Facebook campaigns increased CTR lift by 2.85%.
Since 2014, spending on social ads has increased 185%. Click To Tweet
  • Paid social is the best way to get the most ROI from your social. Owned media is great for increasing the awareness and following of your brand, but content posted on a brand’s social media only reaches a small fraction of its followers. On Twitter, a tweet will only reach 10% of a brand’s followers. A Facebook page with more than a million likes will have an average engagement rate of 2%. Marketers are noticing this drop in organic reach and focusing more on their paid social. And since 2014, spending on social ads has increased 185%.
  • Your ads will get old, and you will have to develop new ones. Paid social allows you to view audience response and engagement rates, which you can use to continually optimize your campaigns, using insights from the data, analytics, and consumer response to help mold your future ads. If something isn’t working, you can change it. If something is working, you can figure out how to continue advancing and promoting that idea—with more money and resources.
  • Paid social is best used jointly with owned and earned media. As we talk about with our Social Trifecta, owned, earned, and paid media can work together to create the most effective social campaign. People are 78.5% more likely to visit a brand’s website after viewing a paid ad—so, using paid social can effectively drive your earned media while also validating your owned media.

But this is all just the start! For more advanced tips on how to create the best paid social ads, see Larry Kim’s Top 10 Ad Hacks.

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