In the words of Kelly Byrd and Likable Media, the ROI of social is finally here! For several years, many companies have wondered if their social efforts were worth the investment. After years of trial and error and massive platform changes, we've finally reached a point where there is solid evidence showing that paid social advertising is an effective, wise investment for both B2B and B2C companies.
At this month’s SLC | SEM event, members had a great opportunities to hear from two seasoned paid social veterans, Kelly Byrd of Likeable Media and AJ Wilcox of B2Linked.com. Each discussed current trends and strategies for making the most of your social media spending. Here are some of the best takeaways from their presentations.
Kelly Byrd: Social ROI is Finally Here
Kelly Byrd is an account manager at Likable Media in New York City. She specializes in Facebook advertising, which is undoubtedly the most established paid social platform out there.
The Other ROI: Ignoring Opportunity
Kelly started her presentation by reminding us of Facebook’s massive reach and scale:
- 1.3 billion monthly active users, who spend an average of 20 minutes per day on Facebook
- 1 in 5 US page views on the internet is on Facebook
- Facebook drives nearly 25% of all web traffic—more than organic search
- 1 in 5 minutes on a mobile device is on one of Facebook’s apps
- 200+ million mobile users in the USA
Kelly then explained that the “other ROI” many people don’t consider is the cost of ignoring opportunity. If you’re not taking advantage of Facebook’s massive reach and targeting abilities, you can bet your competitor is.
In December 2014, Facebook made a public announcement that your content will no longer be seen for free, and all of Likeable Media’s clients have really found that statement to be true. If you’re working with digital and social content, it’s worth it to invest in paid Facebook advertising.
A Good Place To Start
To begin, it’s important to start off by defining your campaign’s objectives. Develop KPIs for your ad campaign that align to Facebook’s objective set, and identify key insights to track throughout the campaign. What type of content drives leads best? What audiences are responding the best or the worst?
Consider past performance when determining benchmarks. On average, you can expect to pay $20 per lead or $0.30 per engagement.
Optimizing your ads to increase clicks and decrease costs is great, but your campaign shouldn't end there. Conversion tracking allows you to optimize ad creative and ad targeting for the best cost per desired action after the click. You can easily create detailed conversion tracking pixels on Facebook’s platform, all for free. It only requires some simple HTML to place the pixel on your completion page. (Just be sure to place the pixel on the page after the user completed an action—not on the home page or landing page.)
Each campaign corresponds to a single advertising objective, like driving website traffic. You can then set a budget and a schedule for each of your ad sets, and organize each set by audience segment—i.e., people who live near your store.
From there, each ad set can feature multiple ads featuring different images, text, links or video. You will still define creative, targeting and bidding for each of your ads.
Retargeting and Lookalike Audiences
One of the most useful features of Facebook’s advertising platforms is CRM targeting, using existing emails and phone numbers from your existing audience or client base. You can use this data to retarget a particular audience, or to create a lookalike audience.
With a lookalike audience optimizing for similarity, Facebook will attempt to find you the top 1 percent of users with similar traits to your target audience. At the opposite level, when optimizing for reach, Facebook will display your ads to 10 percent of users in your target country who are most like your target.
Behavior Data and Demographics
As an advertising platform, Facebook is know for its behavioral and demographic data. There are thousands of offline behaviors you can target, as Facebook partners with some fate biggest data collectors in the world.
Facebook knows a lot about your life stage and interests based on your activity while logged into Facebook throughout the day. If you look at shoes while you’re logged in, you’ll get ads for shoes all day. While users may not particularly like this data collection, it’s an invaluable resource for advertisers.
A big thank you to Kelly and Likable Media for sharing a lot of great insights with our audience and giving us an important reminder of why paid social should be a priority.
View Kelly’s SlideShare presentation here.
AJ Wilcox: The Red-headed Stepchild of B2B PPC
AJ Wilcox, a redhead himself, is a LinkedIn PPC specialist and recently launched B2Linked.com. He spoke with our audience about the challenges of B2B advertising and the solutions LinkedIn PPC has to offer.
We’re all constantly bombarded with consumer advertising. When we’re at our positions at work, we serve a different role—online marketing director, buyer, etc. B2B companies have to cut through the clutter of B2C advertising to target you in your professional role.
B2B companies aren’t generally household names. However, when you take a look at the Fortune 1000, you see that 72% of companies are B2B.
How to Reach Business Users
Paid search via Google Adwords or Bing ads offers a few challenges when marketing to a B2B consumer. Because paid search is based on keyword targeting and is intent based, it’s difficult to control who you’re actually targeting. CEOs type the same keywords as janitors and get served the same ads.
While this is fine for most consumer products, this is often ineffective when you’re trying to get a very targeted consumer through your sales process.
B2B Ad Options
B2B companies have a few options for advertising. First, they have the option to advertise in industry rags and publications, such as ChiefExecutive magazine.These are typically pretty expensive, but they do reach a well-targeted, business-oriented audience.
There are also AdTech vendors, such as Bizo, Quantcast, and DemandBase. These companies offer cool technologies, but these are typically out of reach to normal small-to-mid businesses.
Paid social is a third option for B2B companies. Twitter’s ad platform is relatively new and has weak B2B targeting options. Facebook has decent B2B targeting options, but has a more personal, consumer-oriented focus. LinkedIn has the best of both worlds—precise B2B targeting and a business focus. LinkedIn users are usually in a business mentality when they log in.
There are a few additional advantages to LinkedIn advertising. First, user information is very up-to-date. LinkedIn paid social data stays high quality because people curate it themselves. In addition, LinkedIn’s ad platform offers near-unlimited traffic, really high quality leads, and robust targeting options.
LinkedIn Ads 101
LinkedIn Ads started in 2008, but has been largely ignored since then. The platform is very similar to Google Adwords and has display type ads. You have the option of CPM or CPC bidding, with an average CPC click costing between $4–6. LinkedIn’s auction system is based on audience, not keywords, meaning there is a finite number of people and companies your ads can be served to.
While targeting is dependent upon profile completeness, LinkedIn offers a broad range of targeting options. Here are just a few of the options:
- Job Title
- Job Function
- Company Name
- School Name
- Company Size
There are four methods of targeting: job titles, job functions, skills, and groups, all with the option to filter by seniority. By combining these different layers, you can find intersecting groups that are typically very active. You have the ability to curate these groups pretty specifically, which is perfect if your company (like most B2B companies) has a very niche product. By targeting using several different layers, you pay less for CPC and reach a wider audience than all of the people who are just targeting by job titles.
LinkedIn also has very rich retargeting options. In paid search, retargeting options are based on building audiences around a keyword. LinkedIn retargeting is based on building a persona. This means you can deliver content test to your ideal audience at a fraction of the price of LinkedIn advertising. On top of that, UTM parameter tagging allows for separate retargeting audiences.
The Downsides to LinkedIn
There are a few reasons that LinkedIn is known as the red-headed step child. LinkedIn brings in the lowest amount of revenue when compared to Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Additionally, LinkedIn is not marketing their ad platform properly, their interface is outdated, and your relevancy rate (similar to Adwords quality score) is not available.
This said, if you’re willing to deal with these downsides, you can tap into a huge, largely ignored advertising opportunity. Thank you to AJ for a great introduction to LinkedIn advertising and PPC.
View AJ’s slide presentation here.
Thank you to everyone who made this month’s event a great success.
About the Author Bryan Phelps is SLC|SEM’s Membership Director and is the CEO of Big Leap. Big Leap is one of Utah’s fastest-growing internet marketing companies, providing a full range of services to mid-to-large companies.