Social media is still emerging as a viable paid advertising platform, especially for service-related industries like law, healthcare, and marketing. Many marketers hesitate to invest digital ad budgets on social media, but paid social media advertising campaigns, when done right, can deliver impressive returns on limited budgets.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to plan, launch, and manage effective paid social campaigns quickly and on a budget. At any point, if you need help or want to talk shop, get in touch with us.
Start by Identifying Goals and Metrics for Your Campaign
Most content marketing campaigns begin with an idea rather than an end goal. A topic that is relevant to your business comes up in the news, and you decide to write a blog article about it, post something on social media, send out an email, create a related paid advertising campaign, or maybe do something even more ambitious. The larger your marketing toolbox, the more ideas you’re likely to have when opportunities arise.
In the case of our client, the personal injury law firm Phelan Petty, one of their attorneys saw a news report in early 2019 that exposed incidents of child abuse in the firm’s home state of Virginia. The attorney decided to write and publish a blog article about the issue to help people understand what was happening, what they could do, and what rights abuse victims have under the law. Our experts proofed the content and optimized it for search engines, but the team at Phelan Petty still felt like there was more they could do for the public.
We worked with Phelan Petty to determine what their goal was for this content. The Phelan Petty team told us they weren’t looking to capitalize on the tragic news so they could sign new clients or showcase their long history of helping victims. Instead, they wanted to raise awareness about the issue, especially among those who may have been directly affected by it.
To complete the project within a reasonable budget and on a timeline that would help Phelan Petty stay relevant amidst the fast-paced news cycle, we recommended a paid social campaign as the best option for driving traffic to the content. After a quick call with the client, we agreed on the campaign’s primary goal and the ways to measure its success:
Goal for the Marketing Campaign:
Help raise awareness about the issue of child sexual abuse in Virginia, particularly among those who are most likely to have been affected.
Key Performance Indicators to Measure Success
- Web page views: More views would indicate that more people saw or came back to the page, which is the primary goal of the campaign.
- Social clicks: Clicks indicate how effective the social ads were at driving people to the relevant content on Phelan Petty’s site.
- Social reach: Reach is a measurement of how many unique users saw the ads related to the content. Even though these users may not have clicked through to view the content, social reach tells us how many of them saw the ad. Even without corresponding page views, greater reach could help indirectly raise awareness about the issue.
Secondary Indicators of Campaign Success:
- Time on page: Marketing experts generally agree that the longer someone stays on a page, the more they engage with the content. The content for Phelan Petty was approximately 1,400 words long. With the average person reading at 250 words per minute, the ideal average time on page would have been just over 5 minutes. However, because the average time on page for content in the legal industry is about 1:45, we also knew that a goal of 5 minutes would be difficult to achieve. In the end, the blog article saw an average time on page of 3:18 — almost twice the industry average.
- Social impressions: Impressions measures the total number of times users saw a social ad. This is different from social reach, which measures unique views. If a user sees the content twice, this counts as two impressions.
- Cost per click (CPC): CPC is used to determine the cost of displaying an ad on social media. For Phelan Petty, we provided a cost-effective campaign by using our extensive experience to cut back on the ad testing phase. CPC for a social media campaign in the legal industry is typically around $1.32, but we were able to minimize costs and achieve a CPC of $0.23.
- Click-through rate (CTR): Calculated by dividing clicks by the number of impressions, CTR shows what percent of users who saw the ad clicked through to the full content.
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Factors for Determining Your Target Audience and Campaign Channel
Once you’ve identified an actionable goal and KPIs, the next step for any paid social campaign is to determine your target audience and decide which channel is the best fit for your campaign. By strategically selecting the target audience and optimal channel for a campaign, you can make sure you only put your ad in front of people who are likely to click through.
Audience Targeting Factors
- Demographics: People of different ages, genders, education levels, and family statuses respond differently to advertisements. For instance, a married woman with a young child would probably be more likely to click a child abuse awareness ad than an older man who has no children.
- Psychographics: A psychographic is a demographic that’s categorized based on their behaviors and interests. For Phelan Petty’s child abuse awareness campaign, we identified Catholic churchgoers as the most likely psychographic to click through.
- Current client base: Creating a marketing persona based on your typical client can help you target similar people who may also be interested in your products or services. However, since Phelan Petty’s main goal was to raise awareness and not convert readers into leads, information about their current client base didn’t play a role in their audience targeting strategy.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Channel
- Timeframe: With ads that are related to current news stories, speed is of the essence. To reach the most people and spread awareness of the recent child abuse story, our team at LaFleur knew the ads needed to coexist with the breaking news story, which meant launching on a platform that allowed us to build a campaign and publish ads very quickly. For Phelan Petty’s Facebook ads, we launched their campaign within two days.
- Budget: For Phelan Petty, we estimated that Facebook ads would prove far more cost-effective than PPC or programmatic ads. We ran their Facebook advertising campaign for only $10 a day.
- Audience: Facebook worked well as a platform for Phelan Petty’s target audience, but depending on the demographics of your target audience, Facebook might not be the best option. For example, many younger social media users prefer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, while older people are less likely to use social media at all.
Phelan Petty’s Facebook Ads Deliver Compelling Results
Thanks to the success of Phelan Petty’s initial social advertising campaign, we went on to develop two more campaigns for them that ran over the next few months. By analyzing the results of the first campaign, we optimized the subsequent campaigns to increase clicks and reach. Their second awareness campaign about a Virginia bus crash received more than 3.5 times as many clicks with nearly the same budget. After that, a Fisher-Price recall campaign reached over 62,000 people in under a month.
The three blogs that we promoted using paid social media advertisements now rank among the top four pages on Phelan Petty’s site, accounting for 59% of the site’s overall traffic in 2019 (January 1– May 12). One of the biggest takeaways from these campaigns is that advertisements that tie into current topics in the news can perform very well on social media with a limited budget. For less than $1,000, we channeled more than 10,000 visitors to Phelan Petty’s website in four-and-a-half months.
Overall, the relevant blog article on Phelan Petty’s website received 880 pageviews during this four-and-a-half-month period. During the same time, a competitor law firm also wrote a series of five blog articles about the same subject; those five articles received 11 page views — combined. So, ask yourself: would you rather write five blog articles to get 11 page views, or write one blog article, give it a small paid advertising budget, promote it thoughtfully, and receive 80 times the total page views? We know which one we’d recommend for our clients.
Create Cost-Effective Social Media Campaigns With LaFleur
At LaFleur, our social media and paid advertising experts can develop campaigns that help you meet your business goals, whether those goals involve increasing leads and sales, raising brand awareness, or informing the public about important issues.