What is Social PPC Advertising?

15 December 2016

By: Sagittarius

Category: Blogs

What is Social PPC?

Social PPC (Pay Per Click) is a form of paid digital advertising, but solely for placement on Social Media platforms. These ads can be targeted to groups of users based on demographics, interest in topics, or other data gathered by the platform. Typically, these ads will appear in a users “feed” or “timeline”, and advertisers can pay by utilising two bid strategies: CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions).

With Facebook’s ever-expanding advertising options, Twitter’s promoted tweets and profiles and cards, LinkedIn’s advertising and marketing solution, and, of course, more recently Instagram, there are now plenty of online advertising options to run alongside Google Adwords. Even Snapchat has now begun its advertising offering and you could argue that apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (who are both starting to roll out advertising options to businesses via their platforms) should also be included in the ‘Social PPC’ list.

Whilst Social PPC didn’t start on Facebook, it was one of the first social platforms to make it widely available with self-service functionality.

Ok, So Why Would You Implement a Social PPC Campaign?

Firstly, you may have noticed that “everyone is doing it”, but this isn’t exactly the strongest argument.

Social PPC should be thought of more like display advertising than search advertising. The advertiser determines who will see the ad and when, as opposed to this being lead by the user’s search terms. Ultimately, the numbers you see should match or be better than display or content networks.

Also unlike search advertising, Social PPC also has the ability to create deeper engagement with the user. Sure, it can generate a click through to a landing page, but it could also be a Like, Follow, re-Tweet, Check-In, share or Re-Pin, for example. Social PPC is great for brand awareness too. Every click that doesn’t convert into a sale or sign-up isn’t lost; there will be a few more people out there who know your brand and have experienced something to do with it.

In our experience, Social PPC is at its best when implemented as part of a wider campaign and given its own role within a wider strategy. Take the following example of a typical customer journey within the arts & entertainment sector:

Social is likely to be the first interaction with the user, creating desire. Having been exposed to the social ads, they may then go on to conduct their own research and this is where organic search should be ready to receive them and an email programme available to kick start an ongoing relationship.

Combined with generic and brand paid search to catch the shift between more general product and brand-led searches, retargeting and display provide the final push towards conversion, which usually ends in the customer coming back directly to the website to close the purchase.

More and more, we’re finding that customer journeys don’t happen in straight lines, or convert in one simple step. Our job is to position our client’s brands in the right place at the right time to maximise on the opportunities available and create new ones.

How Should Social PPC Be Measured?

The measures you use will depend on the objectives of the campaign and what you set out to achieve, but here are a few methods that we find particularly valuable when measuring Social PPC campaigns.

  • Return On Ad Spend: Measure the amount of revenue, number of leads and CPA (just like regular PPC).
  • Determine additional actions besides sales or leads, like Likes, Follows or Fans and derive a CPA for those actions too.
  • Set goals for engagement with the landing page: Whether that’s time on site, number of page views, loyalty (new or returning visitor?) or recency (you come here often?!), downloads or form enquiries. It’s important not to forget about measuring the value beyond social media.
  • Cost-per-click: yes, it matters! If you’re able to find additional niches or targeting that can bring visitors to your site for less, you can start to maximise ROI.

And don’t forget that, just as with Search advertising, Social PPC can be scheduled around your social follower’s behaviour online.

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