No social media platform ever stays the same. Updates are what keep a platform relevant, and Facebook and Instagram are always looking for the best ways to improve user experience. With more and more businesses and brands embracing these new changes, it is crucial that you are optimizing your ad dollars to their full potential. In past years, businesses and brands had much success with organic content: posts that are published on a Facebook or Instagram page that have no ad dollars put behind them to expand the reach, impressions, and clicks, being the easiest and most cost-effective way to reach your audience on social media. In 2019, that is no longer the case. Let’s take a look at how Facebook has changed over the years and how it has impacted social media use for businesses and brands.
In 2017, Facebook pivoted to a new approach that puts a focus on meaningful interactions between family and friends, which depreciated the reach and effectiveness of organic posts for business pages.
In 2018, Facebook focused on the overall quality of their platforms, the content and ads they allowed to be published, and the user experience.
Now, in 2019, Facebook and Instagram are strictly pay to play platforms. It’s no wonder why social media accounts for 13.8% of advertisers overall budgets, 94% of which being Facebook ads. So what does this mean for businesses trying to plant their foot in the social advertising landscape? Today, brands are spending more than ever before to keep up in the vastly competitive paid social space, so it is important to understand all the ins and outs of how to run an effective social advertising campaign.
The old way of social media marketing was dependent on creative, organic content. But now, the reach of a Facebook or Instagram post is less than 5% of a page’s total likes. The new way of social media marketing is through targeted ad campaigns that utilize a strategic funnel system to build awareness, increase website traffic, and drive conversions.
What is the social media funnel?
Trying to sell to users on social media who are not familiar with your brand and have not interacted with your content does not work. The social media ads funnel is an extremely effective approach to social media marketing because it nurtures a potential consumer through a sequence of ads until they are ready to convert. Through the three phases of awareness, consideration, and conversion, advertisers are able to narrow down their audience from top to bottom so their ad dollars are being spent effectively by reaching the right people in each phase.
Those who are not paid media experts wouldn’t understand the value of brand awareness. Just because you can’t put a number on the ROI of an impression, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. How do you expect someone to make a purchase if they’ve never heard of your brand? Simply think of an impression as a potential conversion and you will quickly realize how valuable your awareness campaign truly is. Building brand awareness is the first and in some ways the most important step of the social media funnel. In order to gain a potential customer, you need to make them aware of who you are and what you have to offer. Starting with a broad brand awareness campaign also helps you to build out your target audience to retarget in later phases of the funnel. Awareness is the car that drives on the road of consideration, leading to the destination of a conversion.
Consideration has often been coined as the forgotten stage of the marketing funnel, even though at the end of the day, leads from this phase are micro conversions. In abandoning this stage of the funnel, inexperienced advertisers are missing out on a huge opportunity to target potential customers who already have an interest in your business or brand. You spent time fleshing out a thumb stopping awareness campaign and now it’s time to capitalize on it by hitting those potential customers once again. Now that they know who you are, they need to know more about what you’re about and what you can do for them. This is your chance to start building a relationship with potential customers, drive them to your website, and encourage them to consider your products or services. By doing all of this effectively, you can retarget people who watched a specific percentage of your video, visited your website, etc., and hit them one last time with an ad that you know will drive them to convert.
Once you’ve finally made it to the conversion phase, you are ready to seal some leads. The people that have made it this far started at the top of the funnel and engaged with your ads so highly that they stuck with you throughout the entire ride. Now that you made these customers aware of your business or brand and they’ve considered your products or services, they are now ready to convert. By using direct messaging to speak to your highly targeted leads, there is nothing left to do but watch the conversions roll in.
Turning a simple impression into a lead takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to be easy. There is no one size fits all approach. If you aren’t utilizing the funnel approach to acquire leads on social, it is nearly impossible to know whether or not you are targeting an audience that is ready to become a customer. But by understanding each phase of the funnel, using the right types of creatives, targeting the proper audience, and analyzing your results to evaluate for future campaigns, you are ready to reap the benefits of paid social media advertising.