Posts

As brands continue to compete for users’ attention on social media, the space is getting more and more crowded, and social platforms have become increasingly selective as to what content they will serve up to their users.

One way to jump in front of the line is to go the route of paid social. In most platforms, there are multiple ways to get exposure. Today, we’re highlighting the differences of  “boosting” or “sponsoring” organic content versus a straight-up paid social ad.

What’s the difference between a “boosted post” and paid advertising?

The difference between boosted post and paid ads infographic

The term for “boosting” will vary by platform. For example, Facebook calls it “boosting” a post, whereas LinkedIn calls it “sponsoring” a post. There’s really no difference in how it works.  Simply put, “boosting” or “sponsoring” ensures more people will see the post by putting a little money behind it.  What many people don’t realize is that simply posting on your channels does not guarantee your followers will see it in their feed.  Boosting a post does.

Boosting takes an organic post (no money behind it) that you have created, hopefully with excellent, tailored content created by you or your team, and increases the chances that your audience (and the people you promote it to) see it by paying for that privilege.

Boosted posts are easier to manage than paid ads, as they are typically a one-off post and aren’t normally part of a larger campaign. Content you may boost include a timely blog post, press release or media mention.

The drawback? Your options for audience targeting, scheduling, budgeting, and ad formats are limited. For example, boosted posts only allow you to promote the post as it organically appears on your page, whereas advertisements allow you to use formats such as carousels, or collection ads for ecommerce.

Paid Social Advertising

Paid Advertising is a larger beast to tame.  As opposed to simply putting money behind a post already in your feed, these are ads created specifically for an ad objective.  As such, paid ads are part of a larger campaign with multiple copy and graphic/video variations for testing. Think of these as fractional print ads that at one point you may have run in a magazine (although, it’s important to note that paid ads can be much more than a static image with some copy.) 

Paid ads are best when pushing a set goal or objective. These have a strong call-to-action (CTA)  and are about getting an audience to click through to your website or landing page.  Paid ads are typically one of the first layers in an integrated sales funnel.

Some instances where you may want to consider running an ad campaign instead of a simple “boost” include: 

  • Highlighting a promotional offer or a direct eCommerce push.
  • Drive registrants, downloads or leads
  • Promoting a product or service with a long decision timeline (so that we can continue to nurture them by retargeting users through other ads)

Boosting Social Posts: Best Practices

A great boosted post should feel natural in users’ feeds. If they aren’t paying close attention, they won’t know it’s an ad. Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • Start by boosting content that is already performing well organically. This is a good indicator of what will work well on a larger scale.
  • The content should focus on engagement or awareness to widen your social media following. Content where you’re calling for leads, sign-ups, or purchase are typically best served in a traditional ad campaign.
  • Don’t spend a fortune. Spend a small amount, like $10-25. See how it performs and scale from there.
  • Be careful! With most of these platforms, once you take an organic post and promote it, you cannot modify it. Double-check that the copy provided is suitable to push to the masses.

Social Media Advertising: Best Practices

Besides boosting organic content, most social platforms have multiple ways to advertise – everything from display ads and retargeting to direct messaging. These are generally more expensive and rely on an ROI-centric objective. 

With paid ads, you can run variations of a single ad and test each to see which copy, image, and call-to-action (or combination thereof) work best. Paid ads also allow for retargeting and offer the opportunity to experiment with multiple ad formats such as display, text, video, etc. On some platforms, an ad campaign provides more granular targeting options.

If you’re new to social media advertising, here are some of our best tips:

  • Keep the copy short and sweet. Users may not be familiar with your brand quite yet, making their attention span for your content even shorter.
  • Run multiple variations of your ads. Test different headlines, body copy, calls-to-action, graphics, images and videos.  Unlike print or TV, digital ad buys can be turned on, up or off in midstream. Once you’ve gotten some results, narrow your ad set down to the best performers and put money behind these.
  • Leverage both graphics and video for best results. While video is favored by many platforms and consumers, it’s still worth testing both.
  • Be thoughtful and clear on your objective. Social media platforms design their ad algorithms to place your content in front of users likely to take a specific action. Selecting the wrong objective, like selecting a video views objective when your end goal is really to get people to visit your site, will lead to disappointing results.
  • Install the social media platform’s pixel on your site, where applicable. Not only do these pixels provide you with conversion data, you can also use them to create remarketing lists to fine-tune your social marketing efforts.

Ultimately, whether you choose to boost a post or run an advertising campaign depends on your goals. If you are trying to build brand awareness or drive engagement on a particular post, sticking with boosted posts would be advised. If you’re looking to drive conversions, then paid ads are your best solution.

 Need help? Get in touch.

In September 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc., in an effort to distinguish the company from its product. Later that year, the company officially filed documents for an initial public offering (IPO) with a predicted value of approximately $25-35 billion.

As the company expands its horizons, so does the app itself. Snapchat is growing up and it is our responsibility as marketers to grow with it. With more than 240 million monthly users, Snapchat is providing more and more opportunities for brands to extend their reach by taking strategic advantage of its features.

Learn from those before you. Below are some ways that brands have successfully utilized the platform.

BMW On the Move

As the primary sponsor in North America for CNN, BMW rolled out a series of short video ads on CNN’s Snapchat Discover section. Later, BMW followed up by creating a microsite that allows consumers to write, draw and design messages on a holiday-themed red BMW X4 SUV with a snow-covered windshield.

By targeting the millennials through their beloved mobile messaging app, BMW is able to reach a younger consumer group for the sales of X4 SUV model. However, it is still a question whether this is a wise placement that led to more purchases.
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 1.17.57 PMScreen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.01.51 AM

Sports Game Time!

Both Under Armor and Gatorade have created special campaigns to put on Snapchat. First, Gatorade designed a low-pixel tennis game that can be played directly on Snapchat. In this interactive way, it was able to generate more significant impressions on the audience.

ezgif.com-video-to-gifScreen-Shot-2016-08-26-at-5.51.15-PM

Under Armor, on the other hand, not only designed a Snapchat game, but also launched 10-second Snap Ads on the sports channel of Snapchat Discover.

Olympics and America

During the last summer Olympics, seven big brands partnered with Snapchat. Walmart highlighted its patriotism by supporting more American-owned business and a study later proved that 34% of American shoppers said they would be more inclined to opt for Walmart after seeing the Snapchat ads.

To promote The Angry Bird Movie, Sony Pictures created a 360-degree marketing campaign across television, digital, and social. On Snapchat, they created seven short film pieces of which two show clips from the film.

Snapchat-walmart-01-2016

Screen-Shot-2016-10-12-at-11.25.46-AM

Cd_zbxGVIAAiNnN

As Snapchat continues to update, more features will be presented to accommodate marketing and advertising opportunities for brands.

By now, we all know how essential social media is to a company’s success. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been utilized in almost every way imaginable. In addition to these big three, numerous other different social media outlets are used for more specific uses and for different target audiences. In the past, Snapchat has had a reputation of being too casual of a platform for social media. But with more than 26 million users, companies are starting to realize that they should tap into the potential of Snapchat by embracing its unique qualities and its marketing potential.

The casual communication through pictures and videos that Snapchat promotes is something that marketers are learning to embrace. In fact, there are many benefits to using Snapchat as a creative way to reach target audiences.

PERSONALITY

Through Snapchat, companies can show their own personality and convey their identity through the photos and videos they share. Take, for example, the Food Network. Their Snapchat consists of short demonstrations of how to make food, articles on food news, recipe inspiration, and frequently features TV personalities who have their own shows on the network, like Katie Lee and Giada De Laurentiis.

pers

LIVE CONTENT

Snapchat also allows a personal component of the identities of these companies to shine through, offering behind the scenes footage for followers to view. MLS and NBA take part in this, just to name a couple. Sports have not just become a love for the game, but also for the players and associations involved, and through Snapchat, fans can engage more with the players and teams by watching live footage of their moments leading up to the big game.

live

GEO-FEATURES

Snapchat offers a geo-feature that brands can take advantage of. The most recent to do this is IHOP, offering branded filters to use on pictures taken at the restaurant. IHOP’s VP of marketing explained their choice to do this, saying, “IHOP receives Snapchats from users every day, a lot of them taken while in our restaurant. Introducing customized filters was a great way to further engage with our guests and at the same time extend our brand message when they share that content with their friends.”

geo

Just like many of the popular social media outlets out there, Snapchat has become a part of life (millennial life, at least). In order for brands to be recognized, they are starting to realize they need to get creative and integrate themselves into the phenomena any way they can. And as users, we have to admit: (ba da ba da ba) we’re lovin’ it.