Social media advertising can be a great way to reach customers in a medium where a large majority are very active; logging on almost every day (and some for multiple times per day). It allows businesses and organizations to reach customers in a way they might not be able to otherwise. For instance, a user may not find a company’s blog or website, but could have a higher chance of being exposed to the brand and its products on a social media site. While there are a great deal of benefits that may come from social media advertising, there are still a few downfalls, which can make this type of brand exposure not so desirable. The pros and cons and their respective importance will most likely differ between each company.
Determining the Benefits
One of the main benefits of social media advertising is obviously the possible exposure it has. The right social media campaign can reach thousands or even millions of social media users each day, either for a long period of time or just for a single day. To get the type of exposure needed, it’s important to highly target any social media campaigns. Facebook does a great job of allowing advertisers a variety of targeting options, such as age range, interests, gender, and even relationship status. Twitter is relatively new to the advertising field (compared to Facebook), so their targeting options aren’t as plentiful.
Another benefit of social media advertising is the immediate results it can provide. Because of the immediacy of social media, companies and organizations can experience a large swell of website visitors, new customers, or Facebook fans all within a single day, depending on the effectiveness of their ads. This type of viral activity can be great for events and product launches.
Evaluating the Costs
Obviously, the biggest downfall of social media advertising is the cost. For some targeted campaigns, competition can be very high, leading to high rates for clicks on social media ads or sponsored tweet impressions (views). For certain industries, the cost to run a viral campaign of this magnitude can be significant, up to thousands of dollars per day.
Because of this, social media advertising on a large scale may not be a viable option to small businesses. While locally-targeted campaigns on Facebook can usually be quite affordable, a small business is less likely to purchase a nationwide sponsored tweet than a major brand like Pepsi or Amazon.com.
Kelsey Jones runs her own social media and search marketing business, The Social Robot, where she helps clients grow their online presence. She was voted one of the top 100 marketers of the year by Invesp in 2009 and has worked for Yelp, Run.com, and Bounty Towels. Check her out at The Social Robot and on Twitter @wonderwall7.