Social Media Advertising

PPC Advertising On Social Media: Introduction

How Does Social Media Advertising Differ From Search Engines for Buying PPC Ads?

On search engines’ content networks, your ad targeting is based on a match between your keywords (often the same keywords you use for your search ads) and the text on the page where your ads appear. The technical term for this is contextual targeting. On social media, by contrast, your PPC ads are targeted based on data in users’ profiles. This information can include age; gender; location; education level; college or alma mater; marital/relationship status; parental status; sexual orientation; employer; hobbies and interest; and birthday.

This information does not necessarily appear on the same page where your ad appears. For example, when I am logged in to Facebook and I’m reading a message from my friend about his recent trip to Alaska, I still see ads targeted to my profile’s attributes (my age, gender, location, interests, etc.) rather than ads about vacations in Alaska.

Aside from those differences, social media advertising is quite similar to search engines’ content networks. They are auction-based PPC platforms. You enter an ad, some targeting parameters, a maximum bid, and a budget, and social media will take care of the rest.

Should You Advertise Directly On a Social Media?

Before you begin advertising directly on a social media platform, you should determine whether you can describe your target audience in terms of the available targeting parameters. If you are a plumber, for example, you might be better off staying with the search engines, because nothing in someone’s social media profile is going to tell you that they have a clogged drain at the moment (whereas, people with clogged drains tend to search for “plumbers” on Google, or read articles online about un-clogging drains.) However, if you are selling New York Giants’ jerseys, you have the ability to target your ads to Giants fans that live in the New York area. If you are selling college counseling services in Indianapolis, you can target local high school students ages 15-18. If you are promoting a touring musician, you can target fans of that musician across the country. As long as you are able to describe your audience in these terms, advertising on a social media will work for you.

How To Set Up Your Social Media Ads

There’s a very simple rule for success with social media advertising: Take advantage of all the targeting options, not just one or two. As an advertiser, you know your audience(s) well. Try to identify as many subgroups as possible using the available options, and create different ads for each sub-group. Or, if you are a chiropractor with offices in Dallas, you might want to create ten different ads targeted to men aged 25-55 in Dallas, each targeted to interest in one of ten different sports, with ad copy like “Nagging Football Injury – see a chiropractor,” “Nagging Basketball Injury – see a chiropractor,” and so on, for soccer, hockey, baseball, tennis, etc… If, on the other hand, you try to put out an ad with broad, sweeping targeting criteria, like “everyone under 18 in New York,” or “all men who have a college education and like Football,” you’re going to have poor click-through rates, and your ads will stop getting impressions.

Here is another example, targeting Britney Spears fans, 25 years or older on Facebook:

How To Measure the Performance of Your Social Media Ads

You should evaluate your media buys on social media alongside your search engine buys. In Clickable Pro, you can do so by building reports that display search and social performance side by side. Facebook does not have a proprietary conversion tracking tool. This means that in order to track conversions on Facebook, you’ll need to have access to a third-party solution. Clickable Conversion Tracking, for instance, allows you to track social media advertising performance with the same simple tag you use to track your Google, Yahoo and Bing traffic and conversions. Most importantly, do not run PPC ads on social networks if you are not measuring conversions! In general, you can expect high conversion rates with targeted social media PPC ads, because only your target audience is seeing your ads. And, if some particular micro-targeted segment of your assumed audience performs poorly, you can adjust your bidding for that segment – and in the process you’ll probably learn something about who your core audience really is.