Most online marketing professionals are aware of the opportunities available with Google AdWords and Bing Ads, but they overlook or underestimate social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – missing out on a potential gold mine in the process. While allocating a large portion of your PPC budget toward search engine advertising is a smart and safe move, it’s also wise to set aside some funds to test the efficacy of advertising with alternative online platforms. Most of these are fairly simple to use and—depending on your industry, audience, and expectations—have a reasonable return on investment when organized and optimized correctly. However, if certain best practices aren’t followed, you’re likely throwing your money away in direct proportion to your elevated levels of confusion.
When we talk about alternative online PPC advertising, we’re primarily talking about the social triumvirate of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at these alternative leviathans individually to better understand their role in your larger marketing strategies and the potential profitability of each.
Because of the video component central to YouTube’s mission, there are more ad types on YouTube than any other social media platform.
- Display Ads—Much like the text ads appearing above and adjacent to the results on a search engine results page (SERP), YouTube display ads are text-based ads that appear in the top right corner of your screen (to the right of the video and above the suggestions) when a video plays on a desktop device.
- Overlay Ads—Overlay ads are unobtrusive, semi-transparent text ads placed over the lower portion of the video that can only appear on desktop devices.
- TrueView Ads—The user is offered the option to skip past these video ads after the first five seconds. They can be inserted before, during, or following a video and are available on desktop and mobile devices as well as televisions and gaming consoles.
- Non-skippable Video Ads—Non-skippable video ads are longer (up to 30 seconds) video ads that must be run to completion before the user’s selected video can be viewed. Again, these ads can appear before, during, or following the video, but they are only available on desktop and mobile devices.
For those of you who are new to YouTube ads, you might want to begin with display or overlay ads to build familiarity with your brand’s services and/or products. Once you have a firm grasp of how to best use these ads, you can begin creating your own video ads. In order to maximize your ROI, work with a creative and professional video editor to create the most polished material possible. The more intriguing the video, the more likely users are to click on the ad and investigate your site further.
If and when you reach the point where you are comfortable uploading your own video ads, you can decide where you would like those ads placed. Additionally, you can sync Google AdSense with your YouTube channel to access a range of analytics options that will help you generate more revenue from your websites and search results. YouTube ads are the next big thing in online marketing, so even if you aren’t seeing immediate success, stick with it and take advantage of getting involved in this marketing trend early before it becomes more crowded and competitive.
Much like search engine PPC campaigns, Facebook allows you to choose your audience at the granular level, whether that be by location, age, gender, or interest. This means that you are able to create ad campaigns that are both relevant and targeted to your chosen personas. Still, until those personas are clearly parsed, it’s wise to stick with a wider audience and narrow your focus as you compile more and more data; there’s no sense excluding potential customers based on uninformed assumptions.
When you first begin advertising with Facebook, it’s wise to let them control your bidding. You can do so by simply clicking on “Optimized CPM” at the “Ad Group” level. Once you have a large enough sample size to glean a more comprehensive understanding of price points for your ads, you can begin personally controlling your bid adjustments as you see fit.
Again, similar to best practices associated with search engines, segmentation is an important aspect of advertising on Facebook. As with any other advertising medium, the first thing you will want to do is separate your mobile and desktop campaigns, but you can segment even further depending on your marketing goals and intended audience. It might seem like a burden, but you should create campaigns for every item you want to segment. This will allow you to target specific groups’ news feeds with different content that can be altered once you begin collecting the requisite analytics.
Against all odds, Twitter overcame some early setbacks and established itself as one of the most commonly visited social media platforms worldwide. As it grew in stature, so too did the advertising possibilities of such a unique phenomenon. Still, despite its as-of-yet unrealized potential, advertising on Twitter will prove disappointing if your company’s page isn’t active, creative, and vibrant. Therefore, before you begin utilizing Twitter ads, make sure that your page is up to date with fresh content and a loyal following. Dormant Twitter accounts lead potential customers to question the vitality of your brand, resulting in diminished advertising efforts.
Once your Twitter account is current, creative, and credible, you can begin making serious waves with your advertising efforts. Bear in mind that promoted tweets will appear in potential customers’ feeds intermingled with other updates, so you must generate compelling, original content if you hope to not get lost in the crowd. This is especially true for users who are not currently your followers. If they feel that you are invading their space, you’re unlikely to achieve any success. Make sure that what you are offering is worthwhile to increase click-through rates and followers.
Twitter currently offers three different ad types, and all three can be highly effective when optimized:
- Promoted Tweets—These ads allow you to deliver messages directly to targeted audiences and at certain times throughout the day depending on your bid strategies.
- Promoted Accounts—Similar to promoted tweets, promoted accounts are ads that allow you to invite specific Twitter users to follow your brand. This helps build a relevant list of follower quickly.
- Promoted Trends—Although they run about $200,000/day, promoted trends can be extremely effective as they allow you to post your brand’s story at the top of a given list for up to 24 hours.
YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all approach and display ads in slightly different ways, but their interface and functionality will be familiar to anyone who has spent time creating campaigns for Google AdWords or Bing Ads. This familiarity increases usability, which in turn increases profitability. The better you know how to use something, the more likely you are to succeed. In that spirit, we hope that this post has been educational and that it will propel your marketing efforts to unprecedented heights!
And if you’d rather let a team of qualified, certified, and experienced digital marketing professionals manage your ads using best practices and cutting-edge analytics, contact LaFleur today at 888-222-1512 to start making the most of your marketing dollars.