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Paid media, as part of an integrated PESO campaign is an accepted and expected part of your marketing strategy; so much so that those companies who hold back are potentially missing out on great opportunities. Online paid media is often avoided by those who lack knowledge of what admittedly is an ever-changing landscape. There is also, in some purist quarters, an old-fashioned persistence that good PR is ‘free’ PR. This is a mistake.
Savvy paid media, such as selected sponsored ads can elevate brands to a higher marketing position, far beyond the reach their budget would usually allow.
Sponsored ads are essentially a way to present links featuring your products or services on Google, social media and other corporate sites. They are online ads and many operate through pay-per-click
(PPC); the general concept being that you only pay where a consumer clicks on your ad and therefore you only pay where there is a recognized interest.
The benefits of sponsored ad campaigns can be:
Whilst TV spots and glossy magazine ads still demand big fees, online sponsored ads do not. Compared to the potential conversion rate and exposure, online paid media can be a worthwhile return on investment.
Great market reach
If you want consumers to notice you then you need to be seen in all the right places. Google, Facebook and Twitter are global brands influencing the daily lives of consumers. The important factor with sponsored online ads is that they are targeted and do not rely on a scatter-gun approach.
Driving traffic to your site
Sponsored ads grab the attention of potential consumers, taking them directly to where you want them to go. With the glut of companies vying for attention online, inherently paying for visitors can really bump up traffic. This helps boost your online profile and search ranking status too.
There needs to be a system of monitoring progress and collecting evidence of real results. Due to the online nature of sponsored ads, analytics are simple to understand, user friendly and accessible.
Whilst a lower budget may be generally appealing, one other plus point is having a tighter, faster rein on spends too. You can set limits and opt out whenever you want.
Online Sponsored Ads
Each online platform offers businesses sponsored ad tools to reach consumers. Here are three of the top contenders – Facebook, Twitter and Google.
With mobile revenues making up a vast component of Facebook total revenue, the social media giant is launching an ad unit, Canvas, for sponsored ads and posts that appear in the Newsfeed. However, unlike other sponsored posts on Facebook, clicking on the Canvas ad takes visitors to a page hosted by Facebook (usually clicking on a sponsored post takes visitors to an external site).
Sponsored Posts on Facebook in general highlight actions taken by Facebook users. You can think of this as a way of gaining popularity through Likes rather than necessarily driving traffic directly to your site. You are essentially sponsoring organic (non-paid) activities.
Page Post Ads are the most common types of Facebook ads, appearing in Newsfeeds of fans of your page, they can be shared and be part of a creative marketing strategy. Facebook also allows multi product ads which work well for eCommerce businesses. Promoted Posts get a boost amongst fans and their friends with a set rate to reach a certain number of users through activating a ’promote’ button.
In 140 characters or less, Twitter is a simple yet sophisticated promotional platform. A Promoted Tweet acts in much the same ways as an everyday tweet, except that you can target who sees it. Whether via gender, location or interests, a Promoted Tweet appears in the timeline of targeted users. Companies pay when users react, such as when they click, follow and retweet, as well as reply and comment.
Twitter has recently been creating customized emojis with Promoted Tweets, as well as other packages – Promoted Trends and Promoted Moments which allows users to see the latest popular tweets without following specific individuals.
Many companies of all shapes and sizes utilize the power of Google AdWords where ads are displayed in sponsored search results. The ads are also placed on relevant websites too. Through these sponsored links your ad can be positioned at the top of the search field, above the organic results. You can target users through bidding on keywords, location and other factors to define your ideal demographic.
There are recent plans to ban sponsored ads in the right hand sidebar of the results page and place more at the top and bottom. The sidebar is expected to feature product listing ads instead. The changes are no doubt connected with enhancing mobile-user experiences (and thusly revenue).
With the fast-pace of change and development in the world of sponsored ads, it is easy for businesses to miss online opportunities. With an integrated marketing campaign that includes paid media, sponsored ads can be monitored and updated more easily.
Further industry changes. On Tuesday Instagram confirmed that it’s adding an algorithm that will reorder which images and videos users see in their feeds. The company said these changes are a result from consumer behavior, identifying that there is a “likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”
The world’s leading photo-follower app didn’t say when the new algorithm will start but The New York Times reported that the changes will gradually roll out with a small set of tests that affect a “single digit percentage of users.”
Instagram’s numbers continue to grow and it now has over 400 million monthly users. Despite being plagued with some of the same repetition of low-to-no-value content consumers leveraged for use by low-quality pay-per-follow routines (ie- fake likes, fake followers), its own Instagram following is still growing.
The new changes mimic similar changes Facebook made in 2009. According to Instagram, users only see 30% of posts in their feeds. It could be that Instagram sees its platform as a potential gold rush territory which has hitherto been unexplored; the reality is closer to the fact that Twitter’s share price collapse of early March is forcing competitors to not mess around with slow-drip monetizing.