The Web has changed how businesses sell. Fewer than 10 years ago, advertising still reigned supreme; catchy TV commercials and flashy print ads were the best ways for a business to gain exposure. At that time, e-commerce was small and untested, and online advertisements were annoying, alienating, and aggressive. Today, a business simply cannot stand firm without at least a website, a few social media accounts, and an active blog. These methods are necessary to learning how to create a growth strategy that works.
However, back in the early ‘00s, when social media was young, businesses could engage with customers for free, gaining exposure and allegiance with minimal effort and expense. As much as marketing experts claim that the same is true today, laughably few businesses ever find social media marketing success without spending quite a bit of dough. In fact, because so-called free Internet marketing can be so costly, plenty of businesses are reverting to the old-fashioned way of achieving visibility: paid advertising.
How the Internet Became Saturated
It is true that social media marketing was once an incredibly effective way to build brand awareness and provide unique customer service experiences. However, that time has long passed. Today, nine of 10 businesses use the most popular social media sites, to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as marketing tools, which means social media users are thoroughly bombarded with marketing messages throughout their online experiences.
Worse, adoption of social media is slowing dramatically; in 2010, social sites saw a 15 percent increase in users, but this year, growth was less than 1 percent. Thus, as more businesses flood the social media sphere, fewer customers are bothering to sign up and log in. If this trend continues, businesses will simply be marketing to themselves.
Why No Marketing Is Free
Assuming a company ignores the impossible odds of reaching a worthwhile audience and wishes to try social media marketing, that business must have a substantial budget to see any progress. Due to the sheer numbers of social media users (business and personal) companies must be exceedingly perseverant with their posts to earn natural views, and such diligence absolutely requires dedicated social media gurus — who ask for healthy salaries to compensate their skills. An easier solution is to boost visibility of business account posts on various sites, but that costs money, too.
Industry average places spending on social media marketing at roughly $350 per day, though it is easily possible to spend much, much more. Professional marketing firms that focus on social media will charge between $7,000 and $20,000 per month, depending on the complexity of the strategy. Unfortunately, as social media marketing becomes even more commonplace, prices will skyrocket.
What Modern Online Advertising Is
On the other hand, advertising is straightforward, scalable, and exceedingly cheap. Unlike the obnoxious flashing banners of yore, modern online ads are most often in-line with a company’s brand message, just like any social media content. In fact, some ads even provide users obvious benefit, like content does. There are dozens of different types of online advertising that can be exceptionally successful at spreading messages:
- Google Search Ads and Adwords: Sponsored links at the tops and sides of Google searches that are strictly pay-per-click (PPC). Other search engines, like Yahoo and Bing, have similar services.
- Facebook Ads: Links and posts that come in various forms and cost a minor flat rate. You can learn more about Facebook advertising costs here.
- Twitter Ads: Promoted tweets that appear in more home feeds, dependent on the amount paid. Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest all offer similar services.
- Retargeting Ads: Ads that rely on information from a user’s Web history to provide directed messages.
- Content Recommendation Networks: A subscription service that places random advertisements around the Web.
- Mobile Ads: Ads that appear only when site or app is accessed on mobile devices.
A startup with a miniscule promotion budget can work with a PPC management company to develop an effective advertising strategy without unexpected costs. Plus, advertising provides built-in data monitoring to help businesses learn exactly how effective different ads are to better hone their tactics.
Who Says Otherwise
With minimal research, it is easy to find endless numbers of blog posts arguing just the opposite: Paid advertising is dead, and cheap, easy social media marketing has won the day. However, before businesses abandon their advertising plans, they might do well to observe the source of the social media marketing propaganda. Most often, it is content marketers and social media consultants who strongly oppose services like pay-per-click advertising and sponsored content, and it isn’t difficult to recognize their stake in discouraging paid ads. Like research on the effects of smoking from Big Tobacco, information on advertising from such sources simply isn’t trustworthy.
Importance Of Tracking
Paid advertising is certainly worthwhile. You just have to remember the importance of paid for advertisements analytics. Paying attention to the metrics of your ads will help you to hone you advertisement and marketing skills so that you are not wasting money. Using Kissmetrics or Google Analytics, or a combination of the two, will give you a dashboard to compare all of your campaigns and advertisements. Facebook Anayltics tips will also help to measure the worth of your social media advertising. Then, use this info to hone your skills and make improvements to later advertisements you pay for. Once you do this, your paid advertisements will be worth every single penny and offer a nice hefty ROI.