Social Marketers: Give Away Your Ad Budget

Nate Elliott

Social marketers have worked for years to justify ad budgets—and that effort is finally paying off. But if you’re a social marketer, and you want your social advertising to succeed, you’d be better off giving that money to your media buying team instead.

We recently surveyed 173 of the most avid social marketers in the world and found that the large majority are buying ads on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. More than two-thirds said they would increase their social ad budget this year. And in most cases, they told us the social team or social agency was responsible for this social ad spending.

But it turns out social teams aren’t very good at spending social ad dollars. Sure, social practitioners claim they’re as good as media buyers at getting value from Facebook ads — a claim few can back up — but even the social marketers themselves they admit to lagging far behind their media-buying peers on other sites.

When social teams run the social ad budget, just 59% of marketers say they get value from Twitter ads; when media teams are in charge, Twitter delivers results 79% of the time. Likewise, social teams only get value from YouTube ads 64% of the time; media teams find success on YouTube 80% of the time.

Media Teams Spend Social Ad Budgets More Effectively

So what should you do with your social ad budget? Take a lesson from some of the most successful social advertisers and give almost all of your social ad dollars to the media team, rather than to the social team:

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The Rise Of Dial-Up, Dial-Down Advertising

Ryan Skinner

Advertising as we’ve always known it, online or off, worked a bit like this:

Produce advertising content />> Place advertising content

Here, advertising content had no life independent of its placement. Print ads, TV ads and radio ads lived only on the servers of the ad companies who created them, and then the media who carried them, for however long they carried them.

Now, a new kind of advertising has emerged:

Promote earned or owned content />> Promote more if it works (or less if not)

Here it’s a question of identifying content for promotion that’s already in the wild, on a blog, in a discussion forum, uploaded to YouTube, and then paying to drive more eyeballs to it, because it supports your brand, or it converts interested communities into customers.

It’s particularly attractive for two very good reasons:

  1. It’s already published, and has often already shown potential to create results for the business (in the form of awareness, leads or even sales), and
  2. You can often dial up the eyeballs that go to it, or dial them down, as you see fit, based on performance.
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