Many businesses and marketers believe that social media advertising offers enormous value—or, at least, it has that potential. There is one thing inspiring continued reluctance in 2014, though - the lack of hard data to justify social ad spending. Earlier this year, a survey from STRATA said that 87 percent of ad agencies want to use social media for ad campaigns, but most are spending on faith alone.
The most popular platforms tend to be the ones that offer the most concrete campaign information. Facebook's strong analytics tools are favored by 81 percent of ad agencies, well ahead of second-place YouTube, which will enjoy ad purchases from 57 percent of agencies surveyed.
While some social platforms still don't offer robust reporting, the social industry as a whole is stabilizing and becoming a better tool for advertisers—particularly those who crave success in concrete terms. Here are some keys to building social campaigns that effectively utilize display advertising.
Investing in Facebook Video Ads
Facebook's impressive display network has become the standard for effective social media advertising. The ROI for most campaigns is strong, and the revenues driven through Facebook alone have made it the top place to start social advertising. It's also a promising network for video advertising, which the company rolled out earlier this year. Initial testing of auto-playing ads on Facebook was successful, and experts believe the feature will be officially launched later this year.
Building on Economical Advertising Space
Twitter's targeted advertising has been a long time coming, but the network has launched a successful program that delivers results and is growing in popularity. According to ZDNet, Twitter uses data from users' browser histories to choose which promoted tweets to display.
Twitter's transition has been seamless compared to the ad efforts of other platforms, and the small real estate taken up by a single ad makes for a cost-effective social ad solution.
One Key to Success: Making Advertisements Clear
Any business investing in social advertising needs to understand how the platform handles its advertisements. When Pinterest launched its first paid posts in 2012, for example, users revolted, mostly because the company tried to hide which pins were promoted and which were organic. As a result, the paid ads quickly flopped, and Pinterest removed the feature.
Most other networks have taken a different approach and tried to be as transparent as possible. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, advertisements are clearly designated, so consumers don't feel like the company is trying to trick them. As a result, consumers are much more accepting of seeing and interacting with these advertisements.
By now, social networks should understand that there's nothing wrong with showing an advertisement. The make-or-break variable is relevance, transparency and consumer interest. When all of these elements align, social media becomes a powerful advertising platform.