Social media ads have become a crucial player in successful marketing strategies; offering businesses the opportunity to connect with their target audience, boost brand visibility, and drive conversions. The true power of social media advertising, however, extends way beyond conventional metrics such as clicks and engagement and even sales or leads directly attributed to social media campaigns.
By analysing the impact of social media ads on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, businesses can effectively leverage their full potential. This entails measuring the efficacy of these ads and utilizing the insights gained to optimise marketing strategies, ultimately leading to substantial business growth.
While traditional digital metrics – impressions, clicks and engagement – provide valuable insights into the performance of social media ads, measuring their holistic business impact requires a broader perspective.
Let’s analyse how social media advertising can significantly influence business results:
#1 Driving in-store visits and sales
Social media advertising platforms provide location-based targeting and optimisation options; allowing businesses to target users in specific geographic areas to get them to visit the store. These social media ads can have a significant impact on foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores with the right optimisation settings, frequency and messaging.
Tracking mechanisms – in-store foot traffic tracking, the redemption of digital coupons and importing offline sales data back into your social media platforms – can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of social media ads in driving store visits and sales. If you don’t have an effective way of measuring the impact of campaigns on your in-store traffic and sales it will be hard to gauge the success of your ad campaigns on social media platforms and you’ll end up leaving it to a “feeling” or the subjective opinion of your sales staff.
Case study: In a recent campaign we launched for a global fashion brand, a budget was allocated to promote a specific store that measures foot traffic as its success metric. No special price promotion or other unique messaging was included other than increasing the visibility of the presence of the store to an audience that showed interest in its product.
For the weekend that the campaign was running, the store saw the highest-ever foot traffic in its history, significantly improving on last year, same weekend results.
#2 Influencing direct conversions
While social media ads can drive traffic to your website, their impact extends beyond ‘last clicks’ and engagements. With advanced tracking and attribution tools, you can measure the conversions (online sales, form submissions) that occur directly and indirectly from social media ad campaigns. (This includes actual purchases, form submissions, newsletter sign-ups as well as other desired actions taken by users who clicked on your ad).
By accurately attributing these conversions to your social media advertising campaigns, you only begin to gain a deeper understanding of their business impact.
Just consider your own consumer behaviour:
- How often have you discovered a brand on social media through frequent exposure to their ads, only to go and search for that brand on Google or go directly to their website once you are done scrolling through your feed?
- Perhaps you prefer using a laptop to complete a purchase, so you close the tab on your phone and enter their website details into your browser instead?
- Maybe you just aren’t ready to take the action yet, but when you are, you don’t wait for another social media ad to pop up, you go to the site directly and complete the action.
All the above behaviours will skew results directly attributed to your social media ads via ‘last click’ attribution.
According to Google Analytics, this might be a sale or lead attributed to your direct channel as last click interaction, but ultimately, your social media campaign led them there, making them aware of your brand, product/service and convincing them to take action. They just didn’t do it immediately or click on your ad.
Only looking at ‘last click’ attribution or considering assisted conversions can greatly impact decision-making when it comes to budget allocations for PPC campaigns. So make sure you consider the full impact by not cutting a channel that’s working hard behind the scenes.
#3 Amplifying brand searches
Social media ads can play a significant role in increasing brand searches on search engines. As mentioned above, when scrolling users are exposed to your ads, they may develop an interest in your brand and subsequently search for it on search engines like Google.
By monitoring and analysing the search volume and impressions related to your brand, you can attribute the amplified brand searches to your social media ads. This clearly demonstrates the indirect influence of social ads on driving organic and paid search traffic and expanding your online presence.
In the realm of enhancing brand awareness, video ads on social media exhibit superior performance compared to other ad formats and channels. This can be attributed to the platform algorithms, which tend to prioritise video content over static formats owing to their engaging nature. Additionally, videos hold a larger share of audience attention and possess the capability to forge a deeper emotional connection with potential customers. (Studies have even shown that the impact of video ads on ROI is twice as high as non-video ads).
#4 Facilitating cross-channel engagement
When it comes to cross-channel engagement, social media ads act as catalysts by creating touchpoints with potential customers.
When users come across your ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, they might interact with your brand across various channels, including your website, blog, social media profiles, and email newsletters. By implementing proper tracking mechanisms and analysing user behaviour across these channels and devices, you can measure the cross-channel impact of your social media ads and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.
#5 Fostering customer advocacy
Building and nurturing relationships with loyal customers will always reap rewards. This is where social media ads step in as a potential generator of positive word-of-mouth ‘marketing’ with your satisfied customers becoming ‘organic’ spokespeople for your brand. This customer advocacy is invaluable.
When users have a positive experience with your brand – or love what you are doing from a social media content point of view – they are more likely to share their experiences with their networks (sharing your page with friends, sharing a post, tagging them in a comment). This translates to increased brand awareness, user-generated content, and even recommendations that drive new customers to your business.
Monitoring and analysing social media mentions, reviews and user-generated content can provide valuable insights into the advocacy and word-of-mouth impact of your social media advertising and help you measure a part of their business impact.
But bear in mind that not all people share openly on social media. If you are a smaller business or don’t sell things people typically share on social media, don’t take a lack of user-generated content or mentions as a failure. Ultimately, look at how your business is growing in general.
#6 Impacting customer lifetime value
Marketing efforts include short and long-term objectives, and when factoring in the long-term value of your customers, advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn can become a major contributor.
By targeting specific audience segments and nurturing relationships through tailored ad campaigns, you have a potential in-road to attracting high-quality leads and converting them into loyal customers.
As these customers engage with your brand over time, their lifetime value increases, leading to repeat purchases, upsells, and referrals. By tracking customer retention rates, average order values and referral rates, you can measure the impact of your social media ads on customer lifetime value and assess their contribution to your overall business growth.
The full power of social media ads lies in optimising your marketing strategy to leverage multiple channels and metrics.
By integrating the data from your social media campaigns with other marketing channels – email marketing, content marketing, Google ads and search engine optimisation – you will begin to gain a comprehensive understanding of their contribution to overall business growth. This will critically inform your ongoing decision-making,
Analysing key performance indicators – revenue growth, customer acquisition costs, lifetime value and return on ad spend (ROAS) on overall sales – provides a holistic view of how social media ads are key players in driving your business forward and achieving remarkable results.
A great social strategy is built upon a combination of key elements that work together seamlessly to drive success:
- Measurement is crucial, as it allows continuous monitoring and analysis of performance metrics to assess the strategy’s effectiveness and make data-driven adjustments.
- Creativity plays a pivotal role in capturing the audience’s attention and fostering engagement through compelling and innovative content.
- Understanding the target audience is paramount, as tailoring the strategy to their preferences and interests ensures relevance and resonance.
- Data plays a central role in guiding decision-making, offering valuable insights into audience behaviour, preferences, and trends and enabling marketers to refine and optimize their social approach.
A powerful and successful social strategy can be achieved by seamlessly integrating these components, maximizing brand impact and driving meaningful results.
Despite requiring continuous monitoring, analysis, adaptation and staying abreast of the latest trends, tools and strategies in social media advertising, social media ads remain powerful ‘influencers’ in assisting to unlock the true potential of your business and maximise your results so you can stay ahead in a competitive market.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you ‘get social’ with your customers, our experienced team at Prebo Digital will make sure your budget spend is focused on contributing to your overall sales or leads at a profitable rate for sustainable growth and long-term success.