Social media advertising is a great, fairly low-cost way to reach new segments of your potential audience, further awareness of your brand, and increase your company’s revenue.
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However, there are also many moving parts to social media ad campaigns that need to be configured and optimized. That means there are lots of ways to drop the ball and create a campaign that doesn’t actually get a business closer to its goals.
Let’s look at six common problems with social media ads and how you can turn those problems around.
1. Failing to Set the Right Goals
What are you trying to achieve with your social media advertising campaign?
Before you launch that social media ad, make sure you’re crystal clear about your objectives. Set goals that are “SMART”:
- Specific: Drill down to the most precise level possible. This will help you make sure your goals for the ad campaign are also…
- Measurable: Specific goals tend to lend themselves to discrete metrics, which makes measuring your progress much easier. Today’s social media advertisers are blessed with an abundance of metrics; your challenge is to pick the right metric for your goal.
- Actionable: If you can’t progress towards your goal by taking some kind of direct action (on your ad campaign or its targeting, for example), then you’ve got the wrong goal.
- Relevant: Are your campaign goals related to your brand’s overall business goals? There should be some sense of alignment here.
- Time-restricted: This simply means that you’re adopting a specific time frame during which you’ll evaluate and analyze the campaign’s performance. Thirty days is a commonly adopted timeframe for a social media ad campaign.
Avoid vanity metrics and goals for your campaigns. Brand awareness is a valid business goal but clicks without conversions typically won’t help you make progress towards any goal. Pay attention to the data and don’t be afraid to change your strategic thinking based on what the data is telling you.
2. Fuzzy Budgets
Yes, digital advertising is generally a cost-effective way to advertise your brand and reach new prospective customers. However, it isn’t free, and those costs can run away with you if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Take the time to understand the costs involved and set a reasonable, workable budget that meets your company’s needs. If you wander into social media or any other kind of digital advertising without a solid budget, you may find yourself missing your revenue and sales goals. You might even experience financial losses, meaning the campaign ends up costing you money instead of making more of it.
Be specific with your budgetary allotment. Know exactly what you have available to spend on ads for each segment of your targeted audience of prospects. Track each of those segments separately to help discover which ads are most effective and should, therefore, be given priority in funds and attention.
3. Misusing Targeting Data and Features
In today’s digital advertising world, targeting is no longer optional. It’s arguably the most important aspect of your social media ads, as well. If you can’t figure out what ad content is most relevant and useful to each of your audience segments, it’s better to stop running ads until you do.
Obviously, you wouldn’t try selling snowblowers to Floridians as a primary campaign. Failing to target your ads carefully is the digital equivalent and a common mistake among advertisers new to the digital front. Understand what the major characteristics of each social media platform’s user base are, and how those characteristics relate to the people you’re trying to reach with your ad campaign.
One mistake that will lead to wasted money and effort, as well as plummeting conversion rates, is to try to create an ad that strives to be all things to all people. Trying to reach the world will almost certainly guarantee you to reach almost no one. Instead, create specific ads for tightly defined segments of your market, then target the ads to those demographics.
4. Ignoring Organic Social Content
Sure, you’re most interested in your ads and how well they perform. But if you’re not paying strong attention to your brand’s organic content, you’re ignoring a practical and free way to test the effectiveness of your creative content before investing in paid campaigns based on similar content.
Test your ad content through organic shares so you’ll know which kinds of content reach your audience and resonate most strongly with those users. This is an easy way to gain a distinct advantage over your nearest competitors. And if the ad content you’re testing doesn’t engage the way it should, then you can pull it back, tweak and retest before you sink more funds into an ineffective campaign.
Another mistake with respect to organic content is to forget how crucial it is in creating a provable “existence” for your brand on social media. An otherwise brilliant ad campaign runs up against a kind of cognitive dissonance when a user navigates to the brand’s profile or account page, only to find nothing else of use or interest.
5. Embracing Automation a Little Too Closely
Social media advertising offers a number of automation options that can help you save time, energy and effort across the board. With a little initial work, you can publish your campaign and just wait for the results to roll in.
This is a mistake. A successful campaign on any social media platform must be monitored to ensure progress towards the company’s goals. If you don’t pay attention to your campaign, you won’t know if there’s a serious problem in your targeting that’s resulted in a dismal number of views.
Modern technology for digital advertising gives you access to the data that helps you analyze your campaign’s performance fairly thoroughly. If that performance isn’t as strong as it needs to be, don’t be afraid to make changes to help turn it around.
6. A Lack of Patience
On the other and, if you’re constantly making changes-and by “constantly” we mean “every few hours”-take a deep breath and back away from the ad campaign. In social media advertising, as in life, change can definitely be a good thing, but change for change’s sake is almost never the wisest course of action.
Like the band sang, “all you need is just a little patience.”
It’s tempting to look at all the data your social media platform (Facebook is the biggest example here) and feel motivated to change just one little thing and see what effect it might have. The problem is that the data isn’t meaningful until the last round of changes you made has had time to take effect. Constantly tweaking an ad or its targeting can actually work against your goals.
Instead of constantly tweaking your ads, let them run long enough to make the data you’re gathering meaningful. That generally will mean at least one or two days.