Paid Ads: Cash Them or Trash Them?

Social media has shifted drastically in the past couple years- from being a place you can share with your friends, to being a place you can market and make some pretty good money. With this change, a majority of social platforms are transitioning into mainly business platforms. Of course, many social platforms took this opportunity and ran with it.

Nearly every social platform out there has an option to advertise your business, your brand, or even just yourself. These ads claim (I use the word claim because the results really do depend on content and the targeted audience) to expand your reach and obtain better engagement. Ads can run you anywhere from a couple dollars to thousands, depending how many individuals you want to reach, what platform, and what you are asking for. So the real question is, are paid ads worth it when it comes to your marketing strategy?

I tried paid ads on all my social platforms (same budget on each platform) to see just how useful they really are! I set a budget of $10 on each and ran ads for 3 days.

Facebook

Remember when Facebook was a platform where you would write on your friend’s walls, post mirror pictures with your digital camera, and incorporate the occasionally “rawr xD” in your status? Yeah, let’s be thankful that is no longer the case. Facebook has become extremely business and ad-centric. Ads in the middle of your videos, sponsored posts on your timeline, and recommended products on the side bar fill  Facebook nowadays.

I just recently started my Facebook page so I did not have many organic stats to compare paid stats to. Shameless self-promotion in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…BAM!

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Facebook ads only work through a page so if you are looking to boost your personal page, ads cannot help. You will get the option to boost your post and will then be brought to this page. Here you will be able to choose your audience, set your budget, and set the duration your ads will run.

Facebook will tell you if your targeted audience is too specific or too broad, which helps a ton! When you set your budget, Facebook will tell you the estimated amount of people your post can reach.

Another great aspect of paid Facebook ads is the ability to choose what you want to utilize them for. You can choose to target audiences more likely to click your CTA’s or links or you can choose to target audiences that will engage with your post. I ran an ad for one of my posts for 3 days and by the end of the 3 days, I had 2 shares, 18 likes, and 4,000 impressions.

Pros: 

  • Targeting an audience is easy and Facebook helps suggest keywords, tips, and other ways you can get the most out of your ads.
  • The reach can be quite large, even when you are only spending a small amount of money.
  • Facebook allows you to be quite specific in terms of what you want to promote and to whom.

Cons:

  • While you may reach thousands of people, many of them won’t click or do anything further than simply view your post while they are scrolling. Of course, this is also linked to your content!
  • Although Facebook allows you to pick whomever you want to target, they may decline your ad if THEY feel it does not reflect your content. My first attempt at running an ad was declined even though my targeted audience was very connected to my content. There may be a lot of playing around before your ads get approved.

Effectiveness: 7/10

User-Friendly: 8/10

Cash them or trash them: Cash them!

Twitter

If you know me, you know that I utilize Twitter a lot. It’s a great platform for networking with like-minded individuals. When I first started using Twitter, I used it solely to tell the world every single little thing I did, but like Facebook, it now means business! The difference between Twitter ads and Facebook ads, is that anyone can utilize them; you don’t have to be a business.

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When you first utilize Twitter Ads, you will be brought to this page that breaks down what they can do for you. If you are a business, I would choose web clicks and conversions or engagement. If you are an individual, I would choose awareness or followers. I went ahead and picked engagement because you get a little bit of everything with engagement. From here, you are brought to a slightly more complicated page where you can pick your targeted audience by location, handle, and keywords.

After the 3 days of promoting my post, it was time to check my stats. The reach was a little over 10,000 which may seem great, but the engagement rate was pretty low. I garnered an extra couple likes, a retweet, and a few link clicks. The engagement and reach were pretty much the same as I would do organically.

Pros:

  • Anyone can use ads, not just businesses. If you are simply looking to grow your following or be seen, Twitter Ads can do so for you.
  • It is easy to target audiences and you are not limited to whom you would like to target.
  • You can target handles. For example, if you are a Gary Vaynerchuk fan like myself, you can target all those who follow him. This is great if you deliver similar content or even different content in a similar manner.

Cons:

  • The results weren’t cutting it for me. I was getting the same reach and engagement I would organically.
  • Anyone can use them. Yes, this is a pro and a con. How? You may fall into many targeted categories for individuals or brands you are not interested in and they WILL show up on your timeline!

Effectiveness: 5/10

User-Friendly: 9/10

Cash Them or Trash Them: Cash Them- while the results were not cutting it for me individually, I still feel like they will do some good to others!

Instagram

Instagram is the place that started it all- I’m talking about influencer marketing. It seems like everyone and their grandma is posting some #ads or #sponsoredpost. Instagram is very business-centric nowadays and there won’t be a time when you’re scrolling your feed where you don’t see a promoted post. Although Instagram is a pioneer of influencer marketing and social media marketing, they jumped on the ad bandwagon pretty late.

Instagram can be used for business only if you have a Facebook page linked to it, so not just anyone can do it. I typically get good engagement on my Instagram (okay sorry, I tooted my own horn!) so I wanted to see where else these ads could help me.thumbnail

I don’t post too much on Instagram and for myself, it’s more of a personal platform than a business platform, so I went ahead and promoted my last post. Upon clicking promote, I was asked what I wanted to do: obtain website clicks or reach more people. I opted for website clicks this time as I do have my website to my blog linked in my bio. From there you were to choose your audiences, duration of the ad, and total budget. Overall, very very simple, but simple does not always mean good. The picture I promoted had about 540 likes originally and my website clicks were decent. After promoting, I received a little under 20 likes and a couple of website clicks. I like Instagram, but I am not a huge fan of their ads!

 

Pros: 

  • Out of all paid ads, these were the easiest to navigate and use. Very user-friendly!
  • You can link them to your FB page so more bang for your buck there!

Cons:

  • They recently fixed this, but if you haven’t updated your app and you are running a paid ad, it creates a separate post. All likes and comments are on a copy of the post and not the original.
  • Out of all paid ads, I felt this one delivered the least results because you don’t have as many options as you do with Facebook or Twitter ads. It’s very A or B, nothing else.

Effectiveness: 3/10

User-Friendly: 10/10

Cash Them or Trash Them: Trash Them (Sorry, Insta!)

Overall thoughts on paid ads

Organic reach is on the decline, so it is inevitable that you will have to utilize some sort of paid advertisement. Remember, their ability to promote your content is as good as the content itself. Provide a call-to-action and posts that provide value to other users.

If you are unsure about paid ads, start off with a small budget and see how they work for you. If you typically get good organic reach, you don’t need to fork over hundreds of dollars, but if you don’t, consider investing more in paid ads. Some are hit and miss, so if you find one and is doing extremely well but one isn’t, take note of the differences.

Overall, paid ads are imperative for any marketing strategies when it comes to getting your brand/name out there and getting those conversions!

 

Disclaimer: The information collected in this post is solely based on my individual experiences. What works for me may not work for you, vice versa. I just want to give you all a general understanding of the role paid ads played in my marketing plans.

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